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DU teachers’ body lays siege to V-C office

December 05, 2019 05:11 AM


DU teachers’ body lays siege to V-C office
Teachers protest Around 6,000 teachers shouted slogans against the vice-chancellor; walls were painted with slogans against the varsity and teachers threatened to keep off work till demands met

Kainat Sarfaraz and Riya Sharma

New Delhi : Thousands of Delhi University (DU) teachers on Wednesday gheraoed the vice-chancellor’s (V-C’s) office demanding a resolution on the status of ad-hoc teachers and guest appointments. The DU teachers’ association (DUTA) said around 6,000 teachers protested.

Following the call for an indefinite strike by DUTA, teachers refused to attend invigilation work on Wednesday and instead joined the protest outside the Viceregal Lodge Estate sloganeering against the administration. They broke open the gates and entered the V-C Professor Yogesh K Tyagi’s office. They have also threatened to boycott evaluation and all official duties till their demands are met.

DU administration did not respond to multiple texts and calls for comment.

There are around 5,000 ad-hoc teachers in DU employed on a contract for four months. The University has around 10,000 teachers.

Mona Adlakha, an ad-hoc teacher at Aryabhatta College, said, “We have spent so long getting our PhDs and we have to beg every four months for a job. We are boycotting all official duties till our demands are met.”

While the crisis around ad-hoc appointments in DU has been going on for years, the matter escalated recently after the university issued a letter on August 28. It said that for new vacancies in the current academic sessions, colleges may appoint “guest teachers” till permanent appointments are made.

Guest teachers are paid as per the number of classes they take. This will result in colleges stopping the hiring of ad-hoc teachers who need to be paid on contract.

Demanding clarification on this letter, Delhi University Principals’ Body (DUPA) had put salaries and appointments of ad-hoc teachers in abeyance till further orders.

On Tuesday, DUPA said it received “verbal directions” from the varsity that only those ad-hoc teachers who had worked “in the previous year and joined on July 20 would be continued in November and after. Ad-hoc teachers who joined college for the first time on and after July 20 were to be discontinued.”

Condemning the move, DUTA president Rajib Ray said, “This will mean that over 400 teachers will lose their jobs from immediate effect. The chaos and crisis can only be ended through an unconditional withdrawal of the unjust and illegal 28 August letter, which was never brought to the Academic Council or Executive Council for discussion.”

The teachers’ body also demanded the release of option forms and promotion proforma for implementation of Career Advancement Scheme 2018, counting past services for promotions, and putting approval of rosters on hold till more posts are sanctioned to colleges towards EWS expansion.

On Wednesday, many teachers, cutting across ideological differences, broke the locks and entered the V-C’s office. In an unprecedented move, teachers stood on desks at the Council Hall and chanted slogans against the administration. Similar to what recently ensued at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, walls of the V-C lodge were spray painted with slogans against the V-C, administration and to “save public education.”

Rajib Ray said the people responsible for the graffiti were not teachers. “Besides, defacement is not as important as the livelihood of teachers, which is at risk. We will continue with the boycott of evaluation and invigilation duties until the matter is resolved,” he said.

Tejasvini Dev, a permanent faculty member at Zakir Hussain College said she had come to the protest in solidarity. “This is humiliating. DUPA is not a legal body, and they don’t have the authority to decide the fate of the ad-hocs as per my knowledge. If people like me who never participate in any protests are here, then there’s something really wrong is happening.”

While teachers continued with their protests till late evening, principals of several DU colleges exhibited worry over evaluation. “We didn’t face any problems because of the strike since non-teaching staff co-operated for invigilation duties. However, if the strike continues till evaluation begins, that might become a big issue,” said Manoj Khanna, principal of Ramjas College

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