Published: 23rd December 2021
No permanent teacher really cares about us: Why Delhi University's ad hoc teachers are planning a protest again
Ad hoc teachers have been demanding absorption for ages now and we have seen the left-led DUTA fight for it. But Dr Azmi feels that it wasn't enough
The Union Minister of State for Education, Subhas Sarkar, told the Rajya Sabha on November 22 that there are 3,900 vacant teaching posts and more than 3,000 ad-hoc teachers working in colleges under the University of Delhi currently. The ad hoc teachers' issue has been one at the forefront of almost every movement the DU Teachers' Association has been leading for the past few years but has not reached a resolution yet.
The Centre in its reply to a question at the Lok Sabha in August had said that there are 58 ad hoc teachers in DU. So how did it suddenly jump to 3,000? Well, the data presented in August was only of the departments at the university and not the constituent affiliated colleges. But this figure too, is not right, said Dr Shabana Azmi, an ad hoc teacher of Political Science at the Zakir Husain College, who contested the recently concluded DUTA elections. "According to the electoral rolls, there are more than 4,000 ad hoc teachers, not 3,000. We have to analyse how the government came up with the number," she added.
Ad hoc teachers have been demanding absorption for ages now and we have seen the left-led DUTA fight for it. But Dr Azmi feels that it wasn't enough. "None of the teachers' groups really fought for our cause. Even in the recent Executive Council (EC) meeting, they presented the issue along with 22 others and it got trampled. We need to raise this issue together and strongly," added Dr Azmi, a member of the Adhoc Teachers Front(ATF). "While we did not have permanent jobs, the permanent faculty got promotions and we were previously told that there aren't any modalities for absorption. Why do rules and modalities come up when it's about us?" she asked.
The ad hoc teachers are now afraid of even appearing for interviews as they claimed that there have been instances where the ad hoc teachers have been completely or majorly displaced from their posts and new recruits have been taken in for those posts. They also raised the issue of having a PhD as a criterion for marking. "There are so many of us who have been embroiled in the job so much that they've not been able to finish their PhD. The minimum requirement used to be a Masters' degree," said Dr Azmi.
What's the way out? The ad hoc teachers plan to approach the DUTA, the concerned officials and the ministry first before they go on a full-blown protest like in 2019. "Dr AK Bhagi, who was elected this year as the DUTA President had said that he would fight for our absorption. So we will talk to them first. We will also meet the officials and the Education Minister. But if these actions don't bear fruit we have no other option but to go on the streets again and protest. And this time the permanent teachers will also be with us," Dr Azmi said.
DUTA too saw a major shift with the RSS-affiliated National Democratic Teachers Front's (NDTF) Dr A K Bhagi winning the election for the post of the DUTA President. "DUTA has been working towards absorption of the ad hoc teachers and there has been some progress, small steps, like the maternity leaves being sanctioned for ad hoc teachers. This is one of our major agendas along with salaries for the teachers of 12 DU colleges under the Delhi government," said Dr Bhagi.