When interviews for permanent positions at the University of Delhi and its constituent colleges were announced in September after over a decade, Neha Bhatia was hopeful she would finally get a full-time job after teaching math on an ad hoc basis at Daulat Ram College for nine years.
“I still remember it was my first Karva Chauth after marriage. In the evening, I got a message that I had not made it to the final list. I wasn’t given any reason,” said Ms. Bhatia. To make matters worse, she was let go. “I could not understand why I was being removed. I dedicated nearly a decade of my life to teaching and no questions were ever raised about my abilities,” Ms. Bhatia said. “My entire world has come crashing down.”
Delhi University has over 4,000 ad hoc teachers that are hired for a period of 120 days at a stretch comprising nearly 40% of all teaching staff. These teachers who have been demanding to be absorbed as permanent faculty are now unsure what the future holds for them, as 201 of the 300 ad hoc teachers who have applied so far have not been recruited.
In the Executive Council (EC) meeting of the DU held on Thursday, EC member Seema Das brought up the issue of displacement of ad hoc and temporary teachers and demanded the regularisation of their jobs.
“As of November 30, 70% of ad hoc teachers working in DU departments and colleges applying for permanent positions have been displaced,” Ms. Das said.
Several organisations, including the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, have called for absorption of ad hoc teachers who have been serving the university for long periods of time without the benefits of being a permanent faculty. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has said the “ad hoc system has denied thousands of teachers their fundamental right to work with dignity”.
Aditya Narayan Misra from the Academics for Action and Development and Delhi Teachers’ Association, which has been protesting against the displacement of teachers, says the scale of displacement in the ongoing interviews of different DU colleges has been unprecedented. “These ad hoc teachers have been victims of deceitful and insensitive approach of the authorities.”
In February this year, responding to a question on regularisation of ad hoc teachers at the DU that was raised in the Rajya Sabha, MoS Education Subhas Sarkar, had said, “The UGC Regulations, 2018, do not have any provision for regularisation of services of temporary and ad hoc teachers on permanent basis through one-time absorption.”
Registrar of DU, Vikas Gupta, commenting on the issue said the process of selection of permanent teachers according to the university rules has been implemented in its true spirit and provides equal opportunity and equality to every applicant. “It is not a question of displacement. It is the best candidate that is getting selected. If there is a post for which 100 candidates are applying, 99 others who do not make it will crib about not getting the job,” he said.
Vibhuti Gupta, ad hoc teacher in the Department of Psychology, who did not bag a permanent position says, “Your life turns around when after eight years of putting everything you have into your job and there have been no complaints against you, a person with less experience is selected over you. This is very unfair.” She added every year ad hoc teachers go through the interview process and get selected, but when it came to the permanent interview, someone else was selected.”
Several of the displaced teachers that The Hindu spoke to said while the faculty and principal of the college know the hard work they have put in, the composition of the interview panel is such that there is no consideration of the time one has already spent at the university. “I thought that my work would speak for itself, but clearly one needs some kind of pull to get a permanent job at DU,” adds Ms. Bhatia.