On Monday, the members of the Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) along with the scholars and students of Delhi University held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar demanding the withdrawal of the controversial Academic Performance Indicators (API) system and UGC Gazette Notification .
There have been innumerable protests which have been the talk of the town for last one month. The newspaper headlines are filled with the news of delayed results and their boycott in the admission process. This is because of the amendments ad changes made by the government in the contentious API and increase in working hours.
THE ACTUAL SCENARIO
The teachers are worried about their job security as many posts are being cut short in colleges. Moreover, according to DUTA, the increase in the number of direct working hours will reduce the requirement of excess staff and the appointed teachers will be overburdened, reducing the efficiency of the staff, thus, further degrading the education system. Earlier, direct working hours included lectures, practicals, project supervision and tutorials, all of which were treated equally, but tutorials have now been removed, and the definition has been narrowed down to “Lectures/Practicals/Project Supervision” .As per the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010, the number of teaching hours has been increased. An Assistant Professor who was earlier required to teach 16 hours weekly will now have to work 18+6 hours and Associate Professors and Professors who worked 14 hours – including time spent on tutorials and practicals, will now have to work 16+6 hours and 14+6 hours respectively.
More changes have been proposed by API which has caused further restlessness for teachers.
Reduction in number of seats for teachers from various Colleges under DU:
- Teaching posts have reduced to 13.4 per cent from 20 in physics department of Miranda House
- Hindi department of Miranda will lose about 40.9 per cent of teaching posts
- Shri ram College of Commerce will lose 49.4 per cent of teaching positions
- Hindi department in Deshbandhu College will lose upto 49.8 per cent teaching positions
- Political science department at Ramjas will lose 44.1 per cent and English at Kirori Mal, 39.5 per cent of its teaching posts
Changes to be implemented (Teachers’ context):
- Introduction of students’ evaluation of teachers
- Only students with more than 75 percent can evaluate their teachers
- Under teaching/learning/evaluation, a teacher is expected to have 100 points as an assistant professor
- Associate professors are expected to have 90 points in the same category
- Professors are expected to have 80 points
PROTESTS AND CONFLICTS
The Teachers’ Union are protesting against the amendments proclaimed by the UGC. DUTA is a democratic body and we will not let the government decide our fate.” DUTA President Nandita Narain told The Citizen. She further added that the decision to boycott the evaluation was taken after the UGC notification was put before the General body and All Staff Association in a meeting which was held last week. The HRD Ministry is trying to protect the UGC by giving a view that it will make things more flexible and assured that the said changes will not result in any retrenchment of the staff members, yet the teachers continue to conduct mass protests and has taken the issue to higher authorities.
Attacking the new rules, the memorandum, signed by DUTA president Nandita Narain and secretary Saneep, said: “Any teacher who is interested in 60 points will have to teach 600 hours per year or 300 points per semester. In a semester of 15 weeks, this works out to 20 hours a week… it will be impossible to meet (the target) even if a teacher takes no leave at all, does not fall ill, does not enrol herself in Refresher Courses or do Research Projects.”
STUDENTS’ PROBLEMS AND WORRIES
The mass protests and delay in results has become a situation of worry for the students, especially for the sixth semester. Final year students are sceptical about their results and worried as they seek admission in post graduation courses after the completion of graduation in DU. They are supposed to submit the marksheet by mid of August, both in Indian and foreign educational institutions, which isn’t seeming feasible, as per the going trends.
The teachers are boycotting the new admission process which may delay the new session of the next batch, creating problems for all.
NEED OF THE HOUR
It is high time to come to a final solution to this issue which is running wild from last month so that all the other significant tasks may resume smoothly again. It is hard to say what is right and what is wrong, but even the right idea can degrade the education system if not implemented properly. Past is the clear witness of how vague changes in the system like the initiation of FYUP have experimented with the lives of students and teachers alike. Therefore, the changes should be made with deep thought and with the proper strategy of needful implementation.
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