Guest lecturers’ strike leaves colleges crippled

Over 14,500 guest lecturers are staging protests in the State.

Over 14,500 guest lecturers are staging protests in the State.

For more than 45 days, guest lecturers of government degree colleges have been on strike demanding job security. This has impacted teaching at colleges across Karnataka severely, as semester exams are fast approaching and a major portion of the syllabus is not taught yet. Many college authorities fear that too much time has already been lost.

Over 14,500 guest lecturers are staging protests in Karnataka. In many colleges, there is only one or a handful of permanent faculty for a subject, which has a workloadof 70 to 80 hours in a week. Such colleges are more severely hit.

“The students of core subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Application have great difficulty as the guest faculty in these subjects were on protest. The permanent lecturers are finding it difficult to manage as they are burdened with handling the entire syllabus in the absence of guest faculty,” said K.T. Krishne Gowda, principal of Government First Grade College for Women in Hassan. The college has more than 2,500 students. Among the teaching faculty in the college, only 40 are permanent, while 102 are guest lecturers.

In some colleges, there is none to take classes for students of BSc. The Government College for Home Science in Holenarsipur offers B.Sc. in Food Science, Chemistry and Zoology. But, there is no lecturer to teach these subjects. University of Mysore has announced the dates for the examination of the third and fifth semesters, beginning on February 22. Only a month is left to cover the entire syllabus.

Before going on strike, the guest faculty hardly completed 25% of the syllabus allotted to them. It is difficult to cover the entire syllabus, even if they come back to work by Monday, as more than 45 days are already lost.

K.S. Dinesh, principal of Govt College for Women at Holenarsipur, said 75 guest lecturers were working in the college against the permanent faculty of 27. Teaching had suffered a setback. “It is impossible to manage all classes with the permanent staff alone. The senior officers of the department have held several meetings on this issue,” he said.

Similar is the situation in Government Women’s First Grade Degree College in Kalaburagi. Kashinath Biradar, principal, said: “A total of 56 guest lecturers are working in our colleges as compared to 50 permanent lecturers. English, Women’s Studies, Chemistry and Kannada are the worst-hit subjects as they were heavily dependent on guest lecturers. The agitation has mounted the workload on some of the permanent lecturers who are taking additional classes to cover the syllabus,” Mr. Biradar said.

Rajashekara Hebbar, principal of Government First Grade College, Mangaluru, pointed out that guest teachers had taught for about one-and-half months before going on strike. The strike has put more pressure on permanent faculty members who have extended their teaching hours on their own to ensure that students did not suffer, Mr. Hebbar said.

Incidentally, in Dakshina Kannada, all guest teachers are not participating in the strike. Some who are not members of their association are continuing teaching. A case in point is in the Car Street College where 28 guest teachers are teaching while 100 teachers have totally boycotted classes. A teacher at the Government First Grade College in Belthangady said the strike has particularly hit the teaching of Economics, English and Commerce as most of the government colleges have less number of permanent teachers teaching those subjects.

( With inputs from Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, and Belagavi )

‘Govt. should talk to us’

“Most of the 440 government degree colleges have remained closed for 45 days now. This is because over 14,500 of the 18,500 teachers in the colleges are guest lectures. We have been on strike for one-and-a-half months, and the government has not had the courtesy to talk to us,’’ said Somashekar Shivamugi, president of the Karnataka State Government College Guest Lecturers’ Coordination Committee.He described the new guest lecturers’ scheme as a “divide and rule” policy. “By transferring workload of two lecturers on to one, the government is trying to create a wedge between senior and junior lecturers. In effect, the scheme will not help either the seniors or juniors,’’ he said.He accused the State Government of playing into the hands of some bureaucrats who were opposed to the idea of absorbing guest lectures as permanent faculty. “The Government has regularised doctors and lecturers of the job-oriented courses in the past. We have asked the Government to absorb teachers into the 7,000 ministerial staff vacancies in colleges. Even that is not being done,’’ he said.

Help from technology

Teachers in a college in Mangaluru said that the digital Learning Management System (LMS) introduced by the Department of Collegiate Education has helped students to study online.

Under this system, the students can have access to pre-loaded lessons online and through an app. The contents can be accessed offline through smart classes, he said. This platform has videos of the lectures, PPT, study material and practice test of multiple-choice questions.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:54:07 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/guest-lecturers-strike-leaves-colleges-crippled/article38315416.ece