Delhi University Teachers Up in Arms Over Funding Policy, Autonomy
The DUTA says that the government’s move will lead to the ‘commercialisation of public-funded education’.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) have been on a strike from 19 March to 23 March in protest of the government’s move with regard to funding and autonomy of 62 universities.
On 28 March, the DUTA will take out a rally from Mandi House to the Parliament Street.
The DUTA is protesting the government’s proposal of a 70:30 formula for financing, which will serve to fund the lag arising from the implementation of the 7th pay commission recommendations.
According to Scroll.in, under this formula, the universities are expected to raise 30 percent finances, while the central government will fund 70 percent.
However the DUTA, in a press release, said that this will “inevitably lead to the privatisation and commercialisation of public-funded education in the country, making it largely inaccessible to a large section of students.”
Further, the teachers have also raised the demand to withdraw the 5 March notice from the UGC, which directs the Universities to prepare rosters Department/Subject-wise. The association fears that doing so could hamper adequate representation of teaching staff in the SC/ST/OBC categories as per the constitutional requirement, which mandates 15 percent, 7.5 percent and 27 percent respectively.
In addition, the association is protesting against the UGC proposal that replaces grants with loans funded via the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA). This move, they say, will result in a hike in the fees paid by students.
According to an NDTV report, the association is also demanding the slow absorption of ad-hoc and temporary faculty into the permanent space. The report mentions that the body wants that the total past service in temporary and ad-hoc positions be taken into consideration for appointments and promotions.
Amidst the protests, the Ministry of Human Resource Department on Tuesday, 20 March, announced over 60 universities, including JNU and Aligarh Muslim University, had been granted autonomy, which will allow them to start new courses and offer competitive salaries.
The DUTA protest has resulted in classes being suspended, bring the North Campus in the city to a still. According to a Times of India report, although some teachers did take classes over the strike days, the attendance was considerably thin.
The teachers have reportedly encouraged students to take part in the protests by not attending classes, and stand in solidarity with the DUTA’s demands.
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