Demanding the recall of University Grants Commission (UGC) circular, issued on March 5, along with slew of other issues like autonomy to the colleges, Delhi University teachers have intensified their protests. Their latest decision of boycotting the evaluation of examination papers suggest that the struggle is likely to prolong. But another aspect of the struggle shows that problems at the university are deep rooted and every stakeholder is suffering in the absence of any concrete resolution.Facing a deep crunch of teachers, faculty members have said that the latest UGC circular will only make the crisis more severe. The UGC notification ordered the Centrally funded universities and state universities to consider departments as a unit in lieu of the entire institution for recruiting teaching posts for the members of the reserved communities. The move will drastically reduce the seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes.
Drastic cut in seats
The Centre, through its Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court, stated that the seats for SCs, STs and OBCs will be reduced by 50 percent, 80 per cent and 30 per cent respectively in Banaras Hindu University. The implication was witnessed in other universities too.
In Jawaharlal Nehru University, only 600 out of 900 advertised posts could be filled. The university halted the recruitment process and uncertainly looms large at the campus. Similarly, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University had advertised 52 posts for the teachers, out of which only one went to OBC & nil for SC/ST as per new policy. If the old norms would have been implemented, OBC, SC and ST would have got 14 seats, 7 seats and 4 seats respectively.
Blow to reserved communities
Sanjeev (Changed name) is teaching as an assistant professor at a prominent college of Delhi University. Belonging to Scheduled Tribes, he recalls his struggles after passing the matriculation in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district. He said that he lived away from his home after matriculation to pursue studies.
“Main Shimla se dilli isliye aaya kyunki wahan seats nahi thi. Ab iske baad hum ghar pe kya bataye ki dilli me bhi seats nahi hai. (I came from Shimla to Delhi because there were no seats. After this [Notification] what should we tell parents, there are no seats in Delhi too !!)” said Sanjeev.
With a trembling voice, Sanjeev says that this notification has brought an end to all hope. He added, the reservation not only uplifted his family economically but also put confidence in them to face social life.
Wrecked lives of teachers
Another associate professor, who did not wish to be named, said that the crisis at the university has made people more vulnerable. He said that there are presently 4000 vacant posts at the university but the administration only advertised 1400 posts for recruitment.
He added, “The crisis can be gauged from the fact that there are three generations of three teachers who are queuing for vacant posts. It is strange that the students to whom you taught are your competitors.”
Explaining about the crisis of their lives, he added that people have stalled important decisions about life. “I Know people who are in their 40’s and still haven’t got married. The sole reason is the uncertainty about the jobs. Married teachers have postponed plans of having children,” he added.
No pension means no security
Another issue that agitated teachers is the discontinuance of pension. Rajeev Kunwar, Associate Professor at Delhi University said the pensions have already been discontinued for the teachers who were recruited after 2014. ” The chunk of teachers recruited post 2014 is quite large but there is no social security for them. A teacher of Shyam Lal College, who was recruited two years back, died after suffering from dengue. With no social security, his family was hit badly. The teachers collected Rs 14 Lakh to help his family,” added Kunwar.
While the problems have been piling at the university, the absence of any concrete resolution is only making things worse with implications on all stakeholders!!