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Teachers Gherao UGC: Refuse to Back Down Till Demands are Met

There is a serious crisis in the University as permanent appointments have not started and promotions and pension issues have also not been resolved.
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Image Courtesy: Duexpress

India’s educators have been struggling against the anti-education policies of this government since 2014. From fighting against the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) to now the autonomous colleges, the struggle has been going on for long.

Today, March 12, saw teachers gathered in huge numbers, under the banners of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) and All India Federation of University & College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO), and Federation of Central Universities' Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA). They marched from Feroz Shah Kotla to University Grants Commission (UGC) headquarters where they formed a human chain and Gheraoed the UGC.

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Teachers of Delhi University are on the streets protesting against the 30-70% funding formula, replacement of institutional grants by loans through HEFA and Scheme of Autonomous Colleges and Graded Autonomy. In the name of autonomy, the governing body and other administrators of the colleges will be free to raise fees, and the brand names of the colleges will be used to convert them into teaching shops to earn a profit. Teachers are fighting against the retrograde recommendations of the 7th Pay Revision MHRD Notification (dated 2.11.2017) and the Draft UGC Regulations of 9.02.2018. A detailed critique of the Draft UGC Regulations has also been submitted by the DUTA to the UGC.

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There is a serious crisis in the University as permanent appointments with regularisation/absorption of ad-hoc and temporary teachers have not started and promotions and pension issues have not been resolved.

The General Body of the DUTA, in its meeting held on 27 February 2018, called for an intensification of the on-going struggle. The DUTA General Body has resolved to strengthen the joint movement of teachers, karamcharis and students. In order to build and strengthen a pan-India movement, the DUTA shall continue to coordinate with AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA to chalk out action programmes.

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The charter of demands include- assured 100% central assistance, resolve anomalies of 6th CPC, rectify minimum entry pay for assistant professors at all levels, no stagnation of assistant professors, professors and principals, promotion to a professorship in colleges, no cap on the number of posts and a notification of revised pensions under 7th pay revision.

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We teachers apprehend that the money allocated to UGC in the recent budget will not be sufficient to bear the burden of the 7th pay revision. So we are fearful that 7th pay revision may not happen as the government has consistently been maintaining that 30% of the money should be generated by the institution. If it happens, that means there is no pay revision,” said Prof. Abha Dev Habib who teaches in Miranda House, Delhi University, while speaking to Newsclick.

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DUTA, which has been fighting against the government’s attempts to commercialise and privatise higher education in the country, expressed their dismay over the policies of Centre.

The teachers have the following main demands:

1. 100% financial assistance to institutions of higher education for uniform and simultaneous implementation of 7th Pay Revision Scales in all States

2. Withdrawal of proposals replacing grants by loans through HEFA, Graded Autonomy and Autonomous College Scheme

3. Withdrawal of Clause for Minimum Direct-Teaching Hours of 14 hours (for Assoc. Professors) and 16 hours (for Asst. Professors) and the insistence on 7 hours stay per day without any commitment to providing infrastructure

4. Counting of total Past Service in Temporary and Ad-hoc capacity for Appointments and Promotions

5. Withdrawal of the 5th March Notification for implementation of Department-wise Roster and Continuation of 200-point Reservation Roster with University/College as Unit

6. Complete Withdrawal of API as condition for all pending Promotions

7. Withdrawal of provision for Contractual Appointments in teaching

8. Immediate Release of Pensions and Allowances for all categories

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The UGC Secretary promised the teachers' delegation that it will seriously consider all these demands. However, the DUTA will observe a Black Week from 12 March to 19 March wherein DU teachers will hold classes wearing black bands as mark of protest and hold public campaigns at metro stations and other important public spaces in the city, to raise common awareness of the destructive policy measures of the MHRD and UGC.

Images Courtesy: Abha Dev Habib

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