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Modern Day Slavery in Higher Education
Modern Day Slavery in Higher Education

Modern Day Slavery in Higher Education

August 14th, 2015, Updated: 3:00 pm

“Teachers have been working in the capacity of adhoc teachers not for one or two years but decades in some cases. Every four months they have to pray for renewal of their appointment.”  

Says Dr. Usha Krishna, Associate Professor, Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi University

A teacher ignites the minds, touches the hearts and shapes the future of youth. Teachers are supposed to kindle the curious minds to activate them acquire knowledge, wisdom and skills useful to the society in some manner or other. True teacher loves his subject, students and society. He is willing to sacrifice something for someone there. Imagine when a teacher does not get a permanent job for not one or two sessions but for decades. Modern Day Slavery in Higher Education, Yes, it is true of Delhi University, which has become the playing ground of successive Vice Chancellor along with their political bosses. During the past three years, unabated experiments have been conducted in this University. The University witnessed one major change from annual mode to semester mode in 2012-13 at UG level. Next year 2014, it introduced a four year undergraduate program. Past one year of four year program, was reversed to three year program.  Thereafter 2015 Choice Based Credit System was introduced. Fact of the matter is that these changes were brought about through the Academic council and Executive council of University. If we look at the members of these two august bodies, Professors, Principals of constituent colleges, Teachers from different affiliated Colleges forms these two learned bodies. We can say that the most experienced people constituting of the intelligentsia of this University was involved in bringing about these changes. Besides these bodies from University, it was in the knowledge of University Grants Commission, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the President of India.

In 2006 after the revision of teachers’ salaries during sixth pay commission, the general feeling was that teachers have been given very high salaries. The objective of giving high salaries was to attract the best talent in the teaching profession. As far as I remember, during that time many young students wanted to join as teachers in the University without knowing that they will not have the dignity of being called a “teacher” but will be treated as contract workers. The reason being that University Grants Commission set up a committee to work out renewed service conditions for teachers in 2008.  This report was in process for three years till 2010-11. No permanent appointments and promotions were allowed during the period this report was under way. There was complete halt on appointments and promotions.

Ramifications of the above changes

With this ban on appointment, more than forty percent of the faculty is presently working on adhoc basis in the University. To give a proper perspective of the term “adhoc basis”, it means a teacher gets appointment letter for four or four and half months at a time.   A service break is given at the end of the period. During the summer break, teacher is not supposed to get salary. Fresh appointment of the same teacher may be made in the next semester if he/she has proved to be a perfect slave of all the permanent teachers, Principals and administration of the colleges. If one dances to the tunes of one and all, one may get fresh appointment letter for another semester or else can be shown the door. Every semester the justification of appointing an adhoc teacher is dependent on workload of a department. The workload calculations can be manipulated by dividing the students in sections. There are no norms for the number of students in a section; it varies from department to department, college to college, and also University to University, with a huge scope for manipulations to take place. Thereby, the appointment of an adhoc will solely depend on the whims of the teacher in charge and the Principal of the College.

The result of this is that teachers have been working in the capacity of adhoc teachers not for one or two years but decades in some cases. Every four months they have to pray for renewal of their appointment. The morale of teachers is at its lowest ebb. Low morale is affecting the teaching process very badly.

 

Dr. Usha Krishna, Associate Professor, Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi University revised

Dr. Usha Krishna

Dr. Usha Krishna, Associate Professor, Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi University, is a passionate researchers, teacher and author, who enjoys experimentation and innovation in job. She had been invited to various conferences, seminars and training programs. Dr. Usha is also an assessor for CII sustainability awards.

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