After JNU, Now ‘Aazadi’ Slogans In DU: University Headed For Crisis As Thousands Of Teachers Go On Strike

by Arihant Pawariya - Dec 4, 2019 09:43 PM +05:30 IST
After JNU, Now ‘Aazadi’ Slogans In DU: University Headed For Crisis As Thousands Of Teachers Go On StrikeDelhi University Campus (Seek1/Wikimedia)
  • Teachers unions have launched an indefinite strike against the administration’s new rules regarding appointment of faculties in DU colleges.

    The university is headed for a crisis as thousands of teachers hit the streets.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is under lockdown since 28 October when the administration decided to increase some expenses related to hostel stay of the students.

What started out as a movement against paltry hike in room rents and hostel maintenance charges has been hijacked by left wing extremists who have resorted to anarchy, vandalism, illegal behaviour and pure hooliganism on the campus and outside it.

The government has been trying hard for more than a month to get the students to resume classes but without success.

While there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel in JNU saga, another ‘academic eruption’ stares the government in its face.

The prestigious Delhi University (DU) is heading for a crisis. Thousands of teachers employed at various colleges affiliated to DU launched their indefinite strike today (4 December) against new rules regarding teacher appointment issued by the administration recently.

Hundreds of teachers today gheraoed the DU VC’s office and protested against the recent changes.

Hundreds of teachers protesting against DU administration in the campus
Hundreds of teachers protesting against DU administration in the campus

Some stormed into his office and occupied it.

Slogans of aazadi were raised.

But unlike the anti-national aazadi slogans in JNU four years ago which brought it into national limelight, slogans raised in the DU are about demanding freedom from ‘slavery’ and ‘humiliation’ which the teachers are accusing the university administration of.

The walls in VC’s office have been plastered with many such allegations.

 Walls inside DU VC’s hall office.
Walls inside DU VC’s hall office.
Walls plastered inside DU VC’s office hall
Walls plastered inside DU VC’s office hall

In a circular dated 28 August and issued to all Principals or Directors of DU Colleges, it was informed that they are “advised to fill up the permanent vacancies at the earliest and till permanent appointments are made, Colleges may appoint guest faculty, if required, against new vacancies arising first time in academic session 2019-2020".

DU has four main categories of teachers: permanent, temporary, ad-hoc and guest faculties.

As the titles suggest, except the permanent ones, the rest don’t have job security and don’t receive various benefits reserved only for the permanent faculty.

Even then, temporary and ad-hoc professors get UGC-mandated fixed monthly salary which is as good as permanent teachers’.

But their appointment has to be renewed after certain intervals (ad hoc teachers, for instance, are appointed only for four months and then they keep getting extension based on the college needs).

The guest faculties are hired on a contract basis and teach only select classes and are paid accordingly (they can be billed for 8 hours maximum compared to 16 hours fixed for permanent, temporary and ad-hoc teachers).

Now, the new circular issued by the DU Assistant Registrar has directed all the colleges to only engage guest faculties from next academic year, i.e. 2019-20.

The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) has been demanding that the Vice Chancellor rescinds the circular with immediate effect.

To make matters worse, the Principals have refused to renew the contract of ad hoc teachers who were already teaching in their colleges while the circular talks about changes in teacher appointment only from the next academic session.

The November salaries of many ad-hoc professors have also been withheld by Principals saying that the circular is ambiguous. They have sought clarification from the University and until that comes, the salaries and appointments of all even current ad-hoc teachers are put on hold.

There are around 4,500 ad-hoc teachers in DU and the action by Principals has forced them to hit the streets.

“The reason why Principals have made ad-hoc teachers their political football is because permanent appointments have not happened in DU for a very long time.”

“The last one was in 2015 and that too only in a few colleges. As a result, Principals of many colleges themselves do not have permanent tenure and their appointment also has to be renewed at regular interval”.

“They want the DU administration to extend their tenures and are stopping salaries of ad-hocs in their colleges as a bargaining chip so that administration complies with their diktats,” an ad-hoc faculty at DU told Swarajya on the condition of anonymity.

These 4,500 ad-hocs have been working in the colleges for past many years and now with the new rules issued by DU administration, they risk becoming jobless given their renewals have been upheld by Principals and salaries of some have been stopped.

So, they have also jumped in the agitation called by DUTA.

Along with restarting their salaries and reinstatement, the ad-hocs, who are in the service for many years - some as long as 10 years, are also asking for absorption in the system, i.e. appointment as permanent faculties in DU.

DUTA has put forth four demands:

1) Withdrawal of 28 August DU circular and renewal of the services of all serving ad-hoc teachers.

2) Release of Option form and Promotion form as per Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) 2018, as the University has not held promotions of teachers for last 10 years.

3) Counting of past services for promotions as was granted by DU Ordinances.

4) Putting approval of Rosters on hold till more posts are sanctioned to colleges towards EWS Expansion so that teachers who have been working on ad-hoc basis for long are not displaced because of EWS reservation.

In a press briefing in the evening, DUTA said that the occupation of VC’s office will continue till these four demands are met.

Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.
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