Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

 

N C R   S T O R I E S


 
EDUCATION

DUTA to launch 'Save Higher Education Week' today
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, September 9
Seven thousand teachers from 66 colleges of the Delhi University go on a week-long strike commencing tomorrow. The protest, termed as 'Save Higher Education Week', by the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) is in response to its unresolved standoff with the University Grants Commission (UGC) over certain directives pertaining to teachers' workload.

According to the UGC guidelines, a teacher's schedule should entail 40 hours of workload, of which 20 hours should encompass teaching time including 16 hours of lecture and 4 hours of practicals/tutorials.

This guideline was drawn up keeping in mind the mandated workload of a Central government employee. The current teaching workload drawn up by the Academic Council of Delhi University is 15 hours. After the implementation of the UGC guidelines, the teaching staff required would be 35 per cent less than the current staff, implying that university colleges are presently overstaffed by 35 per cent. This will lead to the attrition of over a thousand teachers. DUTA has brought forth the contradiction of this guideline with the 1998 UGC regulation, which stated, "Provided further that no teacher shall be expected to lecture/discussion for more than three clock hours per day."

Shaswati Mazumdar, president, DUTA, attributed the UGC guideline to be governed by "government policies to reduce funding for higher education". She pointed out that such policies will "make the service conditions of teachers unattractive and increase the flight of talent from the profession". She further said, "the system of education will become a farce in the case of these UGC guidelines being implemented. Prof Mazumdar said, "the Academic Council of Delhi University had previously decided to strengthen the tutorial/practical system of education but the UGC directives place more importance on lectures than tutorials/practicals and have thereby, refuted the decision of the Academic Council constituted of Delhi University academicians."

DUTA also alleged that the UGC Chairman's comments-on the increased workload being a part of the 1998 salary package-are false.

However, the DUTA is demanding the implementation of the guidelines of the 1998 pay package which include the promotion of Readers to professorship in colleges. It is also demanding the restoration of parity of librarians with teachers, another recommendation that formed a part of the1998 pay package.

DUTA has formally approached the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU), Delhi University Researchers' Association (DURA) and college student unions, to join the agitation against the UGC directives.

It is also signing a common appeal addressed to the President of India and is looking to reach out to the people of Delhi to join in the protest. DUTA has promised that the coming week will witness an unprecedented protest to safeguard higher education from the vile intentions of the government.

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