Teachers of institutions of higher education on warpath

RGUTA joins nationwide protest

[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, Sep 6: While the Vice President of India was handing out national awards to teachers on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, one section of teachers boycotted the celebrations across India to voice their resentment against the government.
Lakhs of teachers and employees of central and state colleges and universities across the country showed their support to the ‘Court Arrest’ protest jointly organised by the Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) and All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO) at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Those unable to attend in New Delhi organised protests in their states and institutes donning black badges or bands. The Arunachal Pradesh College Teachers’ Association and Rajiv Gandhi University Teachers’ Association were also vocal in their support to the premier teachers’ associations.
Members of the Rajiv Gandhi University Teachers’ Association staged a silent protest march at the university, in solidarity with the FEDCUTA and the AIFUCTO, wearing black bands and holding placards in support of the nationwide protest events.
The five-member UGC PRC headed by its member V S Chauhan had recommended a 20 percent pay hike for university and college teachers, besides recommending scrapping adhoc and temporary appointments of teachers.
The demands of the teachers and non-teaching staff seem valid, considering that there has not been a hike in over a decade.
According to sources, the last pay hike was in 2006. The pay hike is also likely to cost approximately Rs 70, 000 crore over a period of three years and would be shared by the centre and states equally. A performance linked promotion system has also been suggested with stress on research.
The Committee report was submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) six months earlier, and has reportedly made positive recommendations, which is why there are speculations that the government is reluctant to make it public.
“…teachers will expose the ulterior motives of the government in not revealing the content of the seventh PRC because it wants to withdraw all financial responsibility from higher education in the names of Higher Education Funding Agency and Higher Education Empowerment Regulatory Authority and graded autonomy,” AIFUCTO General Secretary, Professor Arun Kumar and FEDCUTA President Professor Nandita Narain had earlier said in a joint statement.
Also against commercialisation of education, the FEDCUTA and AIFUCTO expressed strong resentment against categorisation of universities and graded autonomy. This would only lead to hike in tuition fees and deprive talented but economically weaker students from quality education.
The government has been stressing on giving a facelift to the education sector and made an anthem out of it in recent years in all public speeches. However, when the time has arrived to implement the UGC recommendations, which has been cleared by a committee created by the government itself, there is hesitance.
This hesitance has forced teachers of government colleges and universities to boycott the day that is celebrated to honour them.
The government is answerable to the lakhs of teachers, who are being subjected to the dilly-dally tactics. The lack of transparency shows that the government is ambiguously dishonouring the services of those who shape young minds.