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Many Delhi University teachers flocking to other universities?

Almost every year, the University of Delhi, one of the most prestigious universities in the country, experiences monumental educational reforms. The semester system, the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) and the choice-based credit system (CBCS) — all were implemented within a span of four years.

Despite the intention of improving the education system, the faculty and the students have struggled to implement these changes. To add to their woes, political wranglings mean that none were implemented properly and FYUP was even rolled back after a year. There are many issues that wait to be taken up by the university administration. One of these is the plight of thousands of teachers presently teaching in the university.

Implementation of new systems are leading to “fluctuating workload because of which teachers face frequent loss of employment. Over 4,000 teachers in DU are ad-hoc, facing great uncertainty, exploitation and economic hardship. And, this does not promote quality teaching and learning,” says Nandita Narain, president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (Duta).

The teachers are disappointed with the lack of respect given to the education system and the future of the students in the name of innovation. “Universities are sites of debate and dialectics, but the DU has sadly become a space where no dissent is entertained any longer and authoritarian regimes have completely taken over the lives of both the students and the teachers alike,” says a professor, who is unwilling to be named.

Despite the disagreement, the faculty in the university is afraid to comment publicly against the system. They do not join protests, even if they wish to, fearing that they might lose their jobs — jobs which are not even permanent.

“The university is able to introduce and get away with these draconian measures because more than half the faculty teaching in the DU is ad-hoc or temporary. It is very easy for colleges to fire a temporary teacher. It is this fear of losing our jobs which prevents us from vehemently opposing this system,” says the DU professor.

Many teachers have been given show-cause notices for trying to voice their apprehensions in the committees of courses and have been threatened and intimidated in various ways for voicing dissent in academic and executive councils — the two statutes of DU. “A code of conduct was brought in to be able to sack teachers who were ‘inciting’ students by having critical discussions on FYUP,” reveals Ms Narain.

Some teachers have been teaching in the university for decades, but still do not have permanent positions. “When appointments were finally started in 2014, they were preceded by adoption of rules that gave absolute monopoly to the V-C in all selection committees in violation of existing statutes and UGC regulations that have checks and balances in the composition of selection committees and other procedures…Duta had protested the manipulation and corruption and raised these issues in the white paper submitted by it to the Visitor and the ministry,” says Ms Narain.

With newer systems being introduced every year (which neither they nor the students understand, and once they do a new one is implemented), the dissatisfaction and anxiety among the professors is increasing day by day.

As a result many have left the university and chosen to teach in other varsities like JNU and Ambedkar University. The M.Phil and Ph.D. passouts now hesitate to work in the DU and are actively looking for other avenues.

“Uncertainty and lack of clarity leaves one unhappy, which also suggests that I will not hesitate in looking for options beyond DU,” says Kanupriya Dhingra, an M.A. English student.

Even postgraduate students are unhappy. According to them, the incoherent execution of any such system makes the competition unfair. Also, they hope that no such system is implemented at the PG-level.

Very much like their professors, these students who once dreamt of teaching in the “prestigious” university are now looking for “better” prospects in the city and outside too.

SOURCE: The Asian Age – Delhi

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