Teachers’ refusal to check answer sheets in Delhi University has brought uncertainty to students, especially those who will graduate this year.
With teachers having boycotted the evaluation duty over redefined service conditions, the results of all DU students are sure to get delayed.
The boycott started on May 24, a few days after the evaluation had started. The teachers are protesting against UGC’s notification that will, teachers say, bring down the number of teaching positions by 50% with ‘unreasonable’ terms of promotion. The new notification also increases the workload for assistant professors from 16 hours per week to 22 hours per week (including tutorials). The work hours of associate professors will go up from 14 to 20 hours. This means that the number of teachers required per subject will be lowered.
The boycott will go on at least till Thursday when teachers again take a stock of the situation. Admissions might also get derailed because of the agitation and teachers have said they won’t participate unless UGC’s new norms are back-pedalled.
The biggest worry on students’ minds is regarding the declaration of results. Students, who graduate this year, have to apply to universities and colleges for postgraduation. Most of these institutions want students to submit their mark sheets and a provisional degree latest by August.
“I am quite worried about the results. I have applied for masters in colleges across the country and most of them want me to submit my final mark sheets by August. I have also applied in foreign universities and they also want my final score as soon as possible,” said Devika Sharma, a third-year student at Miranda House.
In normal course, evaluation of answer sheets begins in the beginning of May. This is what happened this year as well but the process was interrupted on May 24 due to protests and has remained suspended since. Evaluation is a long and tedious process, especially in a university the size of DU. At least 54,000 students are admitted in DU every year, which means, there are a minimum of 1.62 lakh students in the first, second and the final years. Each student writes five papers in a semester taking the total number of answer sheets to be checked to at least 8 lakh.
Close to 3,000 teachers evaluate these answer sheets every day at 13 evaluation centres over two months. Results start coming in by June last week. This year, it is certain that there is going to be a massive delay as 20 days of evaluation have already been lost.
Impact on academic year
The academic year in Delhi University starts by the third week of July every year. Even if the standoff between teachers and UGC is resolved, teachers will have to get back to the evaluation process as soon as possible. This means that teachers could be in evaluation halls, not classrooms, till August. By June 16, the evaluation process will already have been 24 days behind schedule. It is a process that no one else can complete and doesn’t involve just marking answer scripts. The evaluation process also entails a moderation process which lasts at least 10 days.
All in all, it is not just the results but also the start of the 2016-17 academic year that will be affected by the teachers’ stir.
Admissions to get hampered?
Across colleges, the admission process for sports admissions and after the declaration of cut-off lists is handled by teachers.
If teachers boycott the admission process as well, there could be problems. Each department appoints a head to sign off on a student’s admission papers after scrutinizing all relevant documents.
With the number of cases of fake documents also coming up over the past years, the number of teachers engaged for admission has also gone up.
According to college authorities, however, if teachers boycott admissions, they will manage to scrape through by asking administrative staff to admit students.