The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) on Monday alleged that the new UGC notification was a deliberate attempt at weakening the educational infrastructure of the country.
The DUTA has been protesting against the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the UGC since a gazetted notification was brought out by the latter increasing the work hours of professors in the university.
According to the notification, the working hours of permanent faculty have been increased from 16 hours to 24 hours and of adjunct faculty from 14 hours to 22 hours.
DUTA President Nandita Narain, in a press conference at Kirori Mal college, pointed out that if working hours per teachers are increased the number of teaching jobs required will also decrease.
"This will result in half of the teaching posts being lost." She said that there are around 5000 ad-hoc and temporary faculty in Delhi university who will be at a risk of losing this job after the UGC notification is imposed.
She called it another attempt of the government to cut down on the quality of public funded education in the country.
Earlier, the DUTA protested against the Academic Performance Indicator (API) system introduced by the UGC in May.
"The API system is the fundamental reason why teachers working in the university since 8-10 years have still not achieved the permanent status" claimed Narain calling the API completely irrational and not accounting of the infrastructural inadequacies in the university.
Aditya Narayanan , former DUTA member claimed that even some permanent teachers are at a risk of losing their jobs if the notification is enforced.
DUTA also released data at the press conference gathered from across the university.
Noting that the direct teaching hours (DTH) define how many teachers are required in a department to teach various courses, the data revealed that science departments were at a risk of retrenchment going above 30% while the humanities departments could see retrenchments going up to 50%.
This retrenchment was at the cost of an increased workload going above 50% for associate and assistant professors.
Abha Dev Habib, executive council member at DU said, Teachers have a lot to do apart from classroom teaching which includes preparing for lectures, evaluation work, research, administrative duties and organising various students' activities."The time required for tutorials, which according to Habib was a necessity in DU which has a heterogeneous student population, should been counted towards calculation of Direct Teaching Hours.
The DUTA members have boycotted evaluation of the 2nd, 4th and 6th semester exam papers which has resulted in results being delayed.
"We are not happy about it but under tremendous pressure we had to unanimously come to this decision" said A.K. Bhagi , executive council member.
Some professors also claimed that DUTA could even boycott the admission process if their demands are not met.
He rubbished rumours that there were differences among the teachers about the decision saying that the teachers are united in the struggle.
Rudrashish Chakraborty questioned the time of the notification being brought out and indicated that it was to derail protests.Pointing out how this could be an attempt of the government to encourage private universities over public funded education Abha Dev Habib says this couldn't be the end. "The private universities get administrative and academic autonomy then why can't public universities? Slowly we will see them asking the universities to finance themselves which will lead to a fee hike and certain sections of the society will be left out of the reach of the education system."