Delhi University teachers, who have been boycotting evaluation of undergraduate examinations for last 20 days have finally decided to resume the exercise for final year students. They have been protesting against the new UGC norms to ascertain their academic performance. However, they will continue to boycott the evaluation for first and second-year students. The same will be applicable for ongoing admission process and staff council meetings. The boycott has only ended for the final year students.
A decision in this regard was taken at a General Body (GB) meeting of the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA). The decision has been taken after the ministry and UGC officials agreed to set up a committee to resolve their demands. The formal announcement of the withdrawal of the boycott will be made after the decision is ratified in a General Body meeting of the teachers’ body.
DUTA President Nandita Narain said, “In order to create an atmosphere wherein negotiations are fruitful in order to press for final resolution of our problems and in order to continue a sustainable movement to ensure resolution of pending matters, the DUTA Executive resolves to withdraw the boycott of evaluations and boycott of Staff Council Committees.” However, Narain says they will continue to fight against the API (Academic Performance Indicator) system of promotions for teachers ’till it is completely withdrawn’.
As of now, the negotiations have begun and the administration has agreed to meet the minimal demands of setting up a committee to resolve the long-standing demands.
When did the protests begin?
Teachers have been boycotting evaluation of Delhi University UG examinations since May 24 in protest against amendments to UGC regulations that, they argue, will lead to job cuts to the tune of 50 per cent and drastically decrease pupil-teacher ratio in higher education. When the protest was started, the DUTA had boycotted evaluation for all years and later extended it to even the admission process. Teachers lifted the boycott of evaluation for final-year students on by June 16 and decided to rejoin the admission process on July 5.
Why the protests did take place?
The new gazette notification has increased the workload for assistant professors from 16 hours of ‘direct teaching’ per week (including tutorials) to 18 hours, plus another six of tutorials, bringing the total up to 24 hours. Similarly, the work hours of associate professors have been increased from 14 to 22. The teachers argued that altering workload norms would have led to massive retrenchment – to the tune of 4,500 – in teaching posts. That amendment has since been withdrawn.
Terming it to be an ‘unethical’ mode of protest, students had urged the teachers to end the boycott fearing delay in results. For any further delay can jeopardise the career of students and also adversely affect the reputation of the university.
DUTA teachers have also written to new HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar for seeking an appointment. They have also demanded a proper roster system for appointments and a committee to look into the promotion policy that DU adopted with retrospective effect thereby, virtually stopping all promotions for eight years.