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Thousands of teachers protest on Teachers' Day to fight govt's anti-teacher policies

Priyata Brajabasi | Updated on: 7 September 2017, 15:46 IST
Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Priyanka Chharia / Catch News)

On a day when teachers are felicitated and celebrated, over a thousand teachers in Delhi marked the occasion of Teacher's Day by marching in protest from Jantar Mantar to  the Office of the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi. 

The protesters – teachers and employees from central and state universities and colleges across the country – were marching under the banner of All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organizations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA).

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Manas Gurung / Catch News)

The protest was called by the two umbrella teachers’ organisations in response to the non- declaration of the Chauhan Pay Review Committee (PRC) Report that was submitted to HRD ministry in February 2017

Another demand made was for 100% funding for central and state universities. The protesters were also  opposed to attempts by the government  to impose various extents of privatisation and commercialisation through UGC policies like ‘autonomous colleges’ and ‘Graded Autonomy of Universities.’

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Priyanka Chharia / Catch News)

Earlier in the day, Rajya Sabha MP D Raja led a delegation of AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA office bearers to meet with the HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. The delegation included the General Secretary of AIFUCTO Prof Arun Kumar,  and the newly elected President of FEDCUTA and DUTA Dr Rajib Ray. 

Speaking to Catch News, Rajib Ray made it clear that the outcome of the meeting wasn't entirely satisfactory. “The meeting was a step forward, but was definitely not successful. The minister assured us that the pay revision would be announced soon, but had no answers for the unprecedented secrecy about the report of the PRC, or any assurance about our demand for 100% funding for central and state universities,” said Ray.

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teachers' Day. (Manas Gurung / Catch News)

Ray also alleged that the government's response thus far also had more nefarious intentions. “The minister tried to create a wedge between the FEDCUTA and the AIFUCTO by saying that central universities will have the pay revision at the earliest, but he said he cannot ensure what will happen with the state universities,” Ray informed Catch, adding, “He [Javadekar] did not promise anything for the state university including pay revision. But we are completely united in our demands. The government’s policy is not in favour of the best interest of teachers. Our agitation will not stop until our demands are met. This is for the future of education in our country.”

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teachers' Day. (Manas Gurung / Catch News)

Arun Kumar, general secretary of AIFUCTO, told Catch, “There are so many issues plaguing our teachers as of now. Permanent positions in central and state universities are lying vacant but ad-hoc teachers are being employed at basic minimal salaries. No promotion for teachers is being done for years and years. The govt is interfering in all aspects of university functioning, but as far as finances are concerned they want us to fend for ourselves.”

Kumar contends that the actions of the present government are unprecedented. “They have taken away all our autonomy and a corporate structure is being set up. How will students be able to afford higher education once it becomes privatised? This government is making structural changes in higher education brazenly, even without the nod of the Parliament unlike any govt before them,” he says.

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Manas Gurung / Catch News)

Nandita Narain, the former president of FEDCUTA and DUTA, was also a part of the delegation that met the HRD minister. She said, “The pay review committee looks into all service conditions of teachers starting with permanent appointments, time-bound promotions, pensions, the pay scale and its conversion in the 7th pay commission. And the minister had no answers to give about any of it. He said the revision will come out soon but what is worrying is that we need to see the report first before it is implemented; we want to discuss the report before a final decision is taken. Never has there been such a lack of transparency.”

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Priyanka Chharia / Catch News)

Almost 23 central and state universities were represented in the protest at Jantar Mantar including Jamia Millia Islamia, Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, Panjab University, Himachal State University and Karnatak University. Similar protests also took place in other cities like Kolkata, Chandigarh and Lucknow.

With today's meeting with the government failing to resolve the issue, the AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA expressed their resolve to intensify the protests nationwide, even threatening to include students and parents in future agitations.

Teachers representing the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) staging a protest at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi on Teacher's Day. (Priyanka Chharia / Catch News)
First published: 5 September 2017, 19:43 IST
 
Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.

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