There is a bit of a shocker for students planning to join a part-time course in a foreign language in one of Delhi University's college.
The Department of Germanic and Romance Studies that provides teachers for French, German, Spanish and Italian language has written to colleges that it can inform them about availability of teachers only by July. Most of these foreign language courses are extremely popular and colleges are crying foul.
The department has cited a continuous increase in the demand for these guest lecturers and the poor remuneration offered to such teachers who teach on a guest-lecturer basis.
"We have already advertised about these courses being available both nationally and internationally Uncertainty is still prevailing about the availability of teachers. How can you discontinue these courses? We can restructure the fee if needed," said Rajendra Prasad, principal Ramjas College. Ramjas provides certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses in several foreign languages.
Department of Germanic and Romance Studies head Shaswati Mazumdar said the department had not decided to close these courses, but had merely voiced its difficulty in guaranteeing the availability of teachers for these courses. "These students get ridiculously low salaries - Rs 250 per lecture."
"They get much better money outside the university. These are bright students of the department who get 55 per cent marks in their MA."
"This is not the first time I have written such a letter," said Mazumdar. The lecturers on guest basis are arranged and recommended by the university, while the college pays them. "If the department if facing a financial crunch, the college can come to their aid," said Prasad.
Indraprastha College media co-ordinator Manaswini Yogi also confirmed getting the letter She said the colleges were ready to pitch in to improve the pay package of these teachers. "We pay these teachers anyway, we can even select and appoint them with the department's clearance. The market is full of these teachers," said Yogi. Mazumdat: however, said she was not in favour of fee being raised.
"Colleges can include these in its regular courses by creating a department of foreign languages and conduct regular appointment of teachers. I am not in favour of commercialisation," she said.