New Delhi: The Delhi University Teachers Association on Monday staged a protest here against the University Grants Commission (UGC) circular which was issued last month to assess their academic performance.
Protesting in front of the UGC building, the DUTA also submitted a memorandum to its chairman, Professor, Ved Prakash demanding withdrawal of the May 4 notification which also alter teachers’ workload requirements by redefining “direct teaching hours.”
Earlier, these included lectures, practicals, project supervision and tutorials, all of which were treated equally, but tutorials have now been removed, and the definition has been narrowed down to “Lectures/Practicals/Project Supervision”.
As per the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010, the number of teaching hours has been increased. An Assistant Professor who was earlier required to teach 16 hours weekly will now have to work 18+6 hours and Associate Professors and Professors who worked 14 hours – including time spent on tutorials and practicals, will now have to work 16+6 hours and 14+6 hours respectively.
The six hours increase includes time spent on tutorials, remedial classes, seminars, administrative responsibilities, innovation and updating of course contents.
The DUTA members mentioned in their memorandum that the new norms will overburden teachers and drastically reduce the preparation time available resulting in degrading of quality. They also said that it will also result in reduction in number of teachers required.
“Approximately 5,000 teachers currently working in DU’s departments and colleges will rendered surplus and will lose their employment,” it said.
After the Union Human Resource Development Ministry issued a direction to it to undertake amendments in the regulations including implementation of Academic Performance Indicator (API), the UGC had called a stakeholders’ consultation meet (June 6) to “discuss API scheme and workload of teachers”.
The API target for teaching allots a maximum of 60 points per teacher per year, but the points will be determined by dividing the “actual hours spent per academic year divided by 10”.
Attacking the new rules, the memorandum, signed by DUTA president Nandita Narain and secretary Saneep, said: “Any teacher who is interested in 60 points will have to teach 600 hours per year or 300 points per semester. In a semester of 15 weeks, this works out to 20 hours a week… it will be impossible to meet (the target) even if a teacher takes no leave at all, does not fall ill, does not enroll herself in Refresher Courses or do Research Projects.”
The Left parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party also demanded withdrawal of the circular saying that the notification will have negative repercussions on quality and equity.
The HRD Ministry directive issued on May 26 said “the direct teaching-learning hours will remain unchanged”. It did not address the complaints about the definition of direct teaching hours and calculation of workloads. The teachers on May 30 had organized a similar protest at Jantar Mantar.