A Delhi University college has sacked six ad-hoc faculty members, five of whom had been working at the institution for more than a decade, and recruited 11 new teachers who senior academics say have inferior qualifications.
Satyawati (Evening) College had advertised 16 posts in its Hindi department, where 11 ad-hoc faculty members worked. Following interviews between September 1 and 16, six of the ad-hoc teachers were rejected, five were appointed as regular teachers, and 11 fresh candidates were recruited.
Some of the fresh but unsuccessful candidates said off the record that their interviews lasted just around five minutes.
The development comes amid allegations from some teachers that the ongoing appointment process in DU colleges has been favouring “recommendations” and “networking” over ability and experience.
The senior-most among the six sacked ad-hoc teachers had been working at the college for the past 23 years and the junior-most for 9 years.
A group of senior academics on Monday wrote to DU vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh asking him to absorb the sacked six into other colleges and alleging their “inhuman rejections” amounted to “a mockery of the recruitment process and a travesty of justice”.
The signatories included Nandita Narain, president, the Democratic Teachers’ Front; Aditya Narayan Misra, national convener, Academics for Action and Development; Pankaj Garg, chairman, the Indian National Teachers’ Congress; Shashi Shekhar Singh, Samajwadi Shikshak Manch; Suraj Yadav, DU Forum for Social Justice; and Seema Das, member, DU executive council.
They said the sacked teachers had outstanding academic credentials with high Academic Performance Indicator (API) scores in terms of qualifications, teaching experience and publications. DU colleges use the API score to screen candidates, while selection is left entirely to the interview panel.
One of the six sacked teachers is from the Scheduled Tribes and another from the Other Backward Classes. A third is visually challenged.
Satyawati has been without a regular principal and is headed by an officiating principal or officer on special duty (OSD), who is a faculty member from another college.
“Several posts regarding the stark difference between the qualifications of the internal candidates rejected and fresh candidates selected are emerging,” the letter to the VC said.
“The inhuman rejections seem to be driven by vendetta and regional prejudice. The entire sequence of events, presided over by an OSD appointed by you in violation of the Act, statutes and ordinances of Delhi University, have made a mockery of the recruitment process and a travesty of justice.”
Abha Dev Habib, a faculty member at Miranda House College, said: “A teacher is created in the classroom through years of experience. The college should have retained them --- it’s a huge loss for the college.”
She added that some of the sacked teachers were “from marginalised sections and were a source of inspiration for many in theirespective communities”.
“Their removal will send out a negative message that networking is more important than education,” she said.
DU teachers have for a long time been demanding the absorption of all ad-hoc teachers through a one-time UGC regulation.
Abhay Kumar, a guest teacher at a DU college who has applied for the post of a political science faculty member at Miranda House College, said that five-minute interviews were too short to assess a candidate.