Teachers of Delhi University have been on agitation, demanding renewal of appointment of all ad-hoc teachers in the colleges of the university before the commencement of the new academic session on July 20, 2019.
On July 15 they held protest actions at the University campus and on July 16 at the UGC headquarters. (See photos)
Under the banner of DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association), the teachers have submitted several petitions highlighting their demands to the Vice-Chancellor, the HRD Ministry, the UGC as well as the Education Minister of the Delhi government. The have carried out regular campaigns to rally all the teachers in support of their demands. They have staged protest marches and dharnas at the UGC office, the VC’s office, the HRD Ministry, at Jantar Mantar in front of Parliament, as well as at the offices of Delhi government.
In a letter written to the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Shri Manish Sisodia on July 11, the DUTA has asked the government to ensure renewal of appointment of all ad-hoc teachers in all DU colleges by 20 July 2019, the day the new academic session begins. The letter points out that the University authorities have not made permanent appointments of teachers for more than two years now. The adhoc teachers have, for several years, shouldered the academic and administrative responsibilities of the colleges. The termination of the ad-hoc teachers at the end of each academic session, and the uncertainty regarding their re-appointment till the commencement of the next academic session, hands like a Damocles’ sword over their heads and is a grave threat to their livelihood.
The process of making permanent appointments has not been carried out by the Delhi University authorities since the HRD Ministry last promised to do so in July 2017. The DUTA has held the Central Government, the UGC and the University administration responsible for this gross injustice to the ad-hoc teachers, who have completed all requirements for permanent appointment and many of whom have been teaching regular courses of the university for several years.
The DUTA has highlighted the fact that ensuring security of livelihood of the teachers is of fundamental importance, in order to maintain the high educational standards of the University. It has demanded an end to the problem of insecurity of livelihood of the ad-hoc teachers and that permanent appointment of teachers be immediately carried out. The DUTA has also raised the demand for creation of additional teachings posts in colleges, especially keeping in mind the proposed increase in number of students and the introduction of new courses. It has called on the UGC to increase the allocation of funds for additional teachers and non-teaching staff as well as for the requirements of the new courses.
Plight of ad-hoc teachers of Delhi University
Delhi University, rated among the top universities of India and a much-sought-after destination for students from across the country, has for more than two decades now, been employing teachers on an ad-hoc basis. Data collected from 34 of the more than 80 DU colleges show that out of a total of nearly 4,242 teachers, the proportion of permanent and ad hoc teachers is 57.35% and 42.64% respectively. This is a clear violation of the stated norm of the University Grants Commission, that the number of ad-hoc teachers should not exceed 10% of the overall teacher strength.
Under existing DU rules, ad-hoc teachers are appointed for a period of 120 days. Once their contract expires, it is renewed after a day’s break. This process goes on until permanent teachers are appointed. Even within the 120 days, an ad-hoc teacher can be replaced by some other candidate preferred by the college management.
The employment of ad-hoc teachers is a glaring and shameful example of the practice of contract labour.
Inspite of having the same level of educational qualifications as the permanent teachers and having to share a similar— and often greater — workload, in academic as well as non-academic activities, the ad hoc teachers are grossly underpaid. They are not eligible for academic increment, medical facilities, leave travel concession, home travel concession on any of the other allowances that are provided to the permanent teachers. In addition to this, if ad hoc teachers take prolonged leave in case of emergency they are vulnerable to losing their jobs. Women ad-hoc teachers are not entitled to maternity leave. An ad-hoc teacher has to join duty within three-four days of childbirth, otherwise she risks losing her job.
In most of the colleges, the ad-hoc teachers suffer multiple forms of discrimination. They are often given a higher workload than permanent teachers. They are not allowed to participate in any kind of career advancement courses sponsored by the University Grants Commission. Most ad-hoc teachers are not allowed to teach courses pertaining to their area of academic specialization. Ad-hoc teachers are nearly always given extra invigilation duties during exams.
Ad-hoc teachers are not allowed to organize, be part of the teachers’ unions or associations, participate in any agitations, protest actions, strikes, etc. in support of their demands. They are certain to lose their jobs if they do. They remain the lowest paid, the most over-worked and discriminated against, devoid of all basic rights, treated like virtual slaves!
Many ad-hoc teachers have been working in Delhi University for 10-15 years without any pay hike. Some of them have retired from service without getting any pension and provident fund benefits.
The ad-hoc teachers are demanding permanent jobs in the same colleges where they have been teaching for years, as a recognition of their qualifications and long years of service.
Ad-hoc teachers of Delhi University were forced to go on hunger-strike from 4th to 13th January this year, to highlight the terrible injustice that is being done to them. The DUTA supported the demands of the ad-hoc teachers and called for a Delhi University shut-down on 17th-18th January, 2019.