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DU ad hoc teachers fear axe

New Delhi, July 4: Delhi University’s ad hoc teachers have been “living in fear and insecurity” since the rollback of the four-year undergraduate programme, whose introduction had led the colleges to hire them.

Sources said most of these 5,000 teachers were recruited last year to teach the 11 mandatory foundation courses whose addition to the curriculum under the four-year programme had increased the teaching workload.

Uncertainty now looms over their fate. The colleges will now reassess the faculty workload and the course requirements, and take a decision on the temporary teachers.

“Most of the university’s colleges are under-staffed,” a senior university official said. “All the ad hoc teachers might not go but, with the old three-year system in place, there would definitely be some retrenchments.”

The colleges hire ad hoc teachers individually on four-month contracts after taking permission from the university. These teachers receive the salaries and benefits of assistant professors who lack a PhD.

Gautam Choubey, an ad hoc teacher of English at Deen Dayal (Evening) College, said “thousands of teaching positions” were now lying vacant at the 78 colleges affiliated to Delhi University.

He said the rollback of the four-year programme was “bad both for students and ad hoc teachers and will destroy the aspirations of qualified and experienced teachers who have been toiling against these vacant positions”.

Several ad hoc teachers told The Telegraph that besides teaching, they also participated in the examination process and worked for various college committees, thus contributing to the growth of the university in more ways than one.

However, they complained they had received little support from the university’s largest body of teachers, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA).

“The colleges and the university had shown an interest in regularising us but DUTA constantly took an anti-teacher stance by extending its overt support to all the regressive moves to counter the four-year programme,” an ad hoc teacher who didn’t want to be quoted said.

He said the four-year programme, started during the tenure of UPA II, was “an ambitious attempt to revamp India’s higher education and was modelled on the American university system”.

“Through the foundation courses, it intended to infuse an inter-disciplinary approach and improve students’ employability. It’s unfortunate that it was withdrawn in such a manner. Now we don’t know whether we will be with the university one month from today.”