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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Amritsar, February 19, 2013
After coming in for a great deal of criticism over its circular to slash the teachings hours of certain subjects from the next academic year, the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) authorities finally decided not to go ahead with the implementation of the controversial decision.
The decision came a couple of hours after GNDU vice-chancellor Prof AS Brar drew a lot of flak from speakers at a seminar held at the Government College for Women on the occasion of National Mother Language Day here on Tuesday. The speakers, including some prominent literary figures in the Punjabi language, claimed that the proposed decision was primarily directed at downgrading the status of the languages, Punjabi in particular, in the institutions affiliated to the university.

"The circular of January 24 has been withdrawn for the time being," GNDU's dean of academic affairs, Prof Rajinder Kaur Pawar confirmed to HT.

A copy of the fresh circular issued by GNDU stated, "The issue will now be discussed in the next meeting of the university's Academic Council. Till then this matter should be considered as being kept in abeyance."

The withdrawal comes a day after the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) ceased work in the noon hours on Monday to register a strong protest over the university's proposed decision to slash the teaching hours of certain subjects, particularly those of the languages, social sciences and commerce streams. The circular in this context was issued by the GNDU authorities on January 24.

Besides the PCCTU, the GNDU Teachers Association (GNDUTA) had also joined the protest as the decision was also proposed to be directed at the teaching departments on the university campus and on the regional campuses and the university colleges. During the protest, the teachers had burnt copies of the controversial circular of January 24 pertaining to reduction in the teaching hours.

PCCTU state executive member, Prof HS Walia had termed the decision as dictatorial and totally illogical. He had observed that it would lead to around 40% teachers becoming surplus and going out of jobs.

Welcoming the decision, GNDUTA president Devinder Singh said, "It will come as a relief to a large number of teachers particularly those who were working on ad hoc or temporary basis."
Walia on his part said, "The VC has saved the academic atmosphere and the colleges from vitiating. We hope the VC will call the PCCTU for talks for resolving all issues related to the teachers working in the colleges."