As many as 45 teachers in the prestigious University of Delhi are on the verge of losing their jobs in a time of economic instability as the university is terminating their contract instead of absorbing them in permanent positions.
While admissions to undergraduate courses have been hogging the limelight, the selection of permanent teachers has also been underway. But the news for guest faculty has been distressing. Very few of them are being regularised.
To take the example of just one institution, in Deshbandhu College, 12 ad hoc teachers have not been accommodated in the final list. A disproportionately high eight of the 11 ad hoc teachers from the department of commerce too were not selected.
An ad hoc teachers who was recently removed told Patriot that at present, there are more than 4,500 teachers in the University working as ad hoc faculty. "Forty per cent of the total teaching force in the University of Delhi is made up of us – the ad hoc teachers. Getting recognised for our work is completely out of question in a situation where you're not capable enough in the eyes of the authorities in spite of teaching continuously in the same institution for years", stated the teacher on condition of anonymity.
"We grew up with the thought that teaching is a dignified profession. However, the university has changed that mindset forever. Ad hocs are not even treated as human beings. The University of Delhi came up with the idea of paid maternity leave for the ad -hoc teachers, last year. Till date there is no medical leave and the casual leaves are inexplicably limited in our case. Even if we keep the authorities aside, the students too treat us as less deserving of respect”, the teacher added.
“Years and years of teaching in an institution, results in a feeling of job and economic security. Then in the blink of an eye, everything gets shattered into pieces. All these years of service and experience are nothing, and once again you’re left to search for employment opportunities”, they concluded.
Different organisations, groups and associations of the teachers have come in support of the ad hoc teachers, protesting against their institutional displacement.
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Speaking on behalf of the Delhi Teacher’s Front (DTF), its president Nandita Narain and secretary Abha Dev Habib have stated that it is a matter of huge concern that the number of displacements is increasing with each interview for permanent recruitment. This is despite the fact that the teachers have served for long years.
“The ad hoc teachers were denied permanent recruitment as the appointments happened in only a few departments and colleges. In 2017, only two teachers were appointed to permanent positions in Daulat Ram College and no recruitment was done in colleges on the basis of the 2019-20 round of advertisements”, stated the DTF.
Out of the 33 employed instructors of Hansraj College, 25 were fired on 7 October. Teachers had no idea that they would lose their employment after that day's classes. In Hansraj College, 75% of the now employed teachers have been replaced despite the college having more positions than the existing ones.
A temporary teacher who worked at the college for 14 years was among those fired, along with others who had been there for at least 10 years. Similar circumstances occurred in Lakshmibai College a few days earlier when serving teachers received notices of termination on 2 October.
Laxman Yadav, an ad hoc teacher in Zakir Husain College told Patriot that the situation of thousands of ad hoc teachers is worsening with each passing day.
“Teachers with 10-12 years of teaching experience were stripped of their jobs. This, while shattering their hopes at one hand has blocked their path to a peaceful future”, stated Laxman.
“Multiple promises were made by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association regarding the permanent recruitment of the ad -hoc teachers. However, they all withered away with time. They promised that the whole University of Delhi would see protests if a single ad hoc teacher was removed from his position. They never used the term ‘absorption’ but stood with the ‘regularisation’ of the ad hoc faculty. Around 25 teachers have been displaced just from a single college, and the DUTA hasn’t reached the roads yet”, he added.
GRAPHIC GRAFFITI: ‘End slavery and humiliation: Absorption’ was written on the walls during an agitation in the past
A representative of the DUTA on the other hand informed Patriot that they are holding conversations with the authorities and would surely reach an agreement in a few days.
However, the representative was reluctant in sharing his name and preferred not to give answers to specific questions.
Pall of fear
The absorption of ad hoc teachers in permanent positions is happening almost after a decade in the University of Delhi. Ironically, the drive to give permanent jobs was largely welcomed by the contractual teaching staff, but as the process unfolded, it became a nightmarish situation.
The guest faculty and other teaching staff in Delhi University, apart from the ad hoc teachers, are now feeling insecure about their future in this institution.
Jagannath Kumar, a PhD scholar and a guest faculty in the NCWEB, University of Delhi informed Patriot that the ongoing issues with the ad hoc teachers has aroused fear among the other contractual teaching staff in the university.
“Guest faculty have been facing a lot of humiliation at the hand of authorities. The fact that they have been here for a few semesters gave them hope that with the passage of time, the situation
would improve. However, looking at the present scenario, when the ad hoc teachers despite years of teaching experience in the same university are removed without a second thought, the question of job security is quite obvious”, he stated.
“As a person doing his PhD, my future along with a thousand other students and scholars pursuing the same dream of becoming a teacher, is now uncertain. When teachers multiple years of experience can be removed from their positions, in a situation where recruitments are happening after 9-10 years in the University, the mental health of the upcoming teachers and other contractual teaching staff has worsened to an unmeasurable extent”, added Jagannath.
He asks in despair, “What has one achieved after years of studies and struggle if the future is still at stake?”
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