A recent notification of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to increase the workload of professors of Central universities has triggered panic among ad hoc teachers of Delhi University.
According to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), the UGC notification would render about 5,000 ad hoc teachers jobless in DU alone.
The DUTA has been protesting against the notification for the past several weeks and has also been boycotting the examination evaluation process. DUTA is also likely to boycott the DU admission process if the UGC does not roll back the notification. According to sources in the UGC, the UGC is likely to roll back the Academic Performance Indicator (API) system for promotion of Central university teachers.
Abha Dev Habib, executive council member, DUTA, said: “We haven’t heard anything from the UGC about rolling back of the API system. Unless we get a written assurance, we would continue with our protests.”
Dr V.S. Dixit, Academic Council member, Delhi University, said, “There are about 5,000 ad hoc teachers in DU, which comprises nearly 50% of the teaching staff and they will all be laid off if this notification is not rolled back. We are not against working for more hours. What we are against is the prospect of our colleagues losing their jobs.”
“Increasing the workload of professors would also increase the teacher-student ratio. With this, the quality of the teachers’ output would also decrease as they would not be able to engage in research work as much of their time would be gone in teaching,” he added.
An ad hoc teacher of DU, who did not wish to be named and who has been working under the ad hoc system for the past 10 years, said that ad hoc teachers are the “most exploited”. The teacher said, “The principal engages us in clerical or administrative jobs in colleges. At times, the ad hoc teachers are also made to man the college gates during programmes. This is bizarre and as ad hoc teachers, we cannot say no to any work given to us. This is demotivating.”
According to prescribed rules of DU, the total percentage of ad hoc teachers should not be more than 10% of the total teaching staff, but presently there are about 5,000 ad hoc teachers among the 10,000 total teaching staff of the university which is about 50% of the total teaching work force. The prescribed limit for the student-teacher ratio of DU is 1:20, but currently the student-teacher ratio is about 1:40.
Sandeep, DUTA secretary, said, “The UGC notification would affect teachers from all Central universities, and about 1.5 lakh ad hoc teachers would lose their jobs.”
“For so many years, new recruitment has not happened in DU. Neither are ad hoc teachers made permanent despite there being vacancies. We have spoken to the new Vice Chancellor Professor Yogesh Tyagi about this. But DUTA’s meeting with the UGC chairman earlier this week did not yield any positive result,” Sandeep said.
Tarun Das, Registrar of Delhi University, said: “I am hopeful that the teachers would start evaluation work from next week as the Dean of Colleges has already reached out to them. As far as the issue of ad hoc teachers is concerned, there is a procedure for recruitment and this would be followed in due course.”