Regularisation demand: Guest faculty of Punjab govt colleges to observe strike from March 2
Demanding job regularisation, as many as 1,000 teachers working as guest faculty in at least 48 government colleges across Punjab are set to observe strike for an indefinite period, starting from March 2.
Harminder Singh Dimple, president of the Guest Faculty Assistant Professors’ Association, said that many of the teachers are providing services at government colleges for past several years but their jobs have not been regularised till date due to poor policies of the respective state governments.
“Over the years, the state government has not only exploited us economically but also played with our careers. Even our salaries have not been revised since five years,” he said.
Presently, they are working on a salary of ₹21,600. Harminder added that the state government had issued a communique on February 19 in which they had stated that only the lecturers with at least 10 years of experience at the government colleges can apply for the regularisation process.
He added that the Punjab government has set certain criteria, as per which, their appointments are made through a proper channel and advertisement. Also, the appointees should have cleared the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) National Eligibility Test (NET) at the time of their appointment and should not have any court case and legal intervention though the years of their appointments.
“Such orders are completely unjustified as most of the teachers do not fall in this category. We are going to met Punjab chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh and other senior functionaries of the state higher education department regarding our demands of relaxing norms for the regularisation process,” he said.
In Punjab, there are 1,873 sanctioned posts of lecturers. While 603 lecturers are regular, 1,000 have been appointed as guest faculty and 270 as part-timers. With less than 50% regular lecturers in government colleges, the guest faculty forms the backbone of these institutions.
Deepak Kaushal, a guest faculty lecturer, said that they have approached the higher education authorities on multiple occasions, but failed to elicit a positive response.
“The state government is making tall claims of improving standards of higher education at government colleges, but on the other hand, it has been ignoring our genuine demands. As a result, teachers with PhD and MPhil degrees are forced to work on a meagre salary,” he said.
He added that they have degrees equivalent to those who have been appointed on regular basis, but they are grossly underpaid.
“The sad part is that 50% guest lecturers have crossed the age limit to apply for other government jobs,” added Kaushal. “Many of us have no other option than to work for low pay,” he said.