Who will listen to the plight of the contract lecturers, His Excellency?

Who will listen to the plight of the contract lecturers, His Excellency?

The Governor of a state is the Chancellor of the State Universities and is supposed to be the custodian of higher education in the state. There are, besides the state universities, central, deemed and private universities as well which have their own Chancellors and Vice Chancellors over whom the state has no or little control. […]

 

Who will listen to the plight of the contract lecturers, His Excellency?

The Governor of a state is the Chancellor of the State Universities and is supposed to be the custodian of higher education in the state. There are, besides the state universities, central, deemed and private universities as well which have their own Chancellors and Vice Chancellors over whom the state has no or little control. Time and again the Governors have expressed their concern at the falling standards of the institutions of Higher learning in the country. A great hue and cry was heard when some western rating agency did not find any university worth listing in the top two hundred universities of the world.

In state Universities the governor as Chancellor appoints the Vice Chancellors. There are some regulations which are laid down by the University Grants Commission which need to be followed. The present Governor of Rajasthan said a few months back that the posts of Vice Chancellors should be advertised and applications invited for a fair selection. But the truth is Vice Chancellors are appointed on purely political considerations in state Universities even flouting the UGC guidelines. The Deemed Universities and Private Universities have greater ease in flouting these regulations as the state government and the central government do not have a direct control over them. There are several instances in the state of Rajasthan which can be cited as examples.

This article, however, is not about the Vice Chancellors and Chancellors. It attempts at examining the plight of lecturers working in universities and colleges of Rajasthan who have no respite from constant exploitation and drudgery. They are qualified teachers with NET, Ph.D. and years of experience but are appointed on contract basis or period basis. Their jobs are totally temporary, without any increment, deduction of contribution to Provident Fund, medical facilities or reimbursement, paid holidays or vacations, HRA, Dearness allowance, bonus or any other facilities. There are no rules of their recruitment. The government of Rajasthan has recently issued an order that retired teachers be appointed where there is a shortage of teachers. If this order is fully implemented even the period basis irregular employment available to the young aspiring teachers will be lost. This is applicable to state universities and government colleges.

The case of Private Universities , Deemed Universities and Private colleges is worse than this. In Rajasthan , according to the website of Department of College Education accessed on 23-7-2016 there are only fifteen state universities and two hundred and ten government colleges. In comparison to these there are eight deemed to be universities, nearly fifty private universities and one thousand six hundred and thirty nine private colleges. The website of the department of College Education has no information about number of private universities. Moreover, there is no information about the number of teachers in the Universities and colleges of the state.

On an average nearly fifty percent posts of teachers in state universities are vacant. In government colleges about one thousand three hundred posts are vacant for which selection process is going on. There are nearly fifty private universities in Rajasthan. No private university in Rajasthan is paying UGC grades to its teachers. If by a rough estimate we assume that there are twenty teachers in a university, there are about one thousand teachers in these private universities who are not getting UGC grades. Similarly if we take a rough estimate of ten teachers in a college, there would be sixteen thousand three hundred and ninety teachers in private colleges. All these teachers are paid ten thousand rupees to twenty five thousand rupees per month. Even this meager amount is not paid for all the twelve months a year. Most often it is paid for eight months in a year. They are fired any moment and remain in job till the pleasure of the owner of the colleges/ private universities. As slaves the teachers are made to do all kinds of work including that of marketing for getting students for the Universities and colleges. They are voiceless, not organized and do not have the courage to speak about their plight.

This exploitation is going on despite Rajasthan Non-Government Educational Institutions Act 1989 Rules 1993 which states that the salary and allowances of the teachers and employees of the non-government recognized educational institutions shall be the same as their counterparts in government service. The Non – Government Educational Institutions Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India has held this view in several Judgments. The government of Rajasthan used to provide grant in aid to educational institutions but since 2011 when all the workers of these institutions who were working on aided posts were absorbed in government service. Since then the state government has withdrawn its control and concern and has left these institutions free to exploit the teachers.

How can quality education and research be expected from teachers who simply have no security, sufficient income and respect in the institutions they work? The tall claims of MHRD and the State government will remain unrealized in this state? The Birla – Ambani Committee’s recommendations are being implemented to privatize higher education but the state has failed to safeguard the interest of education and teachers. Lakhs of students in the state who are studying in Private and Deemed  Universities and Private Colleges are being cheated as they are not being taught  by teachers who are not in a proper frame of mind to teach.

The need is to implement the Rajasthan Non- Government Educational Institutions Act 1989 Rules strictly in Schools, Colleges, Deemed  and Private Universities, ensuring payment of proper UGC and state government scales to the teachers, ensuring regulations about buildings and playgrounds and  ascertaining transparency in admissions, examinations and maintenance of accounts of these institutions. In all state universities the registrar and comptroller finance are appointed by the state government. Same should be done in the case of Deemed and Private Universities. The appointment of Vice Chancellors in Deemed and Private Universities in the state should be done by some independent Council of Higher Education which works under the control of UGC.

Nearly twenty thousand college and university teachers are underpaid and exploited, Your Excellency. I Hope you would listen to their plight stated here.

Author: This article has been contributed by Dr Hemendra Chandalia. He is a Professor in Department of English at Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University, Udaipur.

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