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Central universities go on strike

Central university teachers across India went on a two-day strike on Wednesday, protesting the recommendations of the UGC Pay Review Committee, which they termed as “retrograde”, reports Swaha Sahoo.

delhi Updated: Oct 23, 2008 00:56 IST
Swaha Sahoo

Central university teachers across India went on a two-day strike on Wednesday, protesting the recommendations of the UGC Pay Review Committee (PRC), which they termed as “retrograde”.

They are unhappy with the creation of new hierarchy in designation, lack of assured promotions and tough selection criteria in the absence of adequate research facilities in colleges.

Raw deal for Readers:

Readers have been placed in pay band 3 but they want to be placed in Pay band 4.

Moreover, the sixth pay commission had assured three career promotions but readers have to sit through a rigorous selection process to be eligible for promotion to senior reader.

To be promoted to Senior Associate professor or Senior Reader, a Reader should have worked for at least six years as associate professor and had at least five publications in referred journals/ books recognised by the University.

No time or facilities for research:

Undergraduate teachers have termed the above conditions unfair.

“Classroom teaching, tutorials, conducting examinations and evaluating answer scripts are things college teachers are involved in,” said Abha Dev Habib, senior lecturer at Miranda House.

“And after so many publications we still don’t get professorship, so where is the incentive?” Habib questioned.

College teachers take up to 18 classes per week along with three tutorials.

Research needed for growth:

“I am in favour of selectivity and screening for senior associate professors. But basic facilities like a room and computer should be provided,” said VP Ojha, Reader of Economics, Department of Commerce.

Research is an integral part of a teacher’s growth, said Prof G.K. Chadha, chairman of PRC.

“No area of knowledge is static and a teacher must do research to keep himself updated,” said Chadha. “To enable this we have recommended teachers in social science get up to Rs 2.5 lakh and science teachers Rs 5 lakh as research grant.

Evaluation by peers and students:

The PRC has recommended that evaluation of a teacher by students and peers be linked to promotion to bring accountability.

“A lenient and popular teacher will get away with good scores while stricter ones will suffer,” said Aditya Narayan Misra, president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

In contrast, many teachers favour being evaluated by students.

“If I don’t teach well, I don’t deserve to be promoted. But evaluation has to be done judiciously, in a transparent manner,” said Abhay Kumar, political science lecturer, SRCC.

More hierarchy:

“The PRC has adopted a divide and rule policy. They have created seven teaching positions instead of the existing four,” said Kamal Mitra Chenoy, president of the JNU teachers’ association.

“A professor is already a man of eminence. So what does the post of professor of eminence signify?” asked Chenoy.