As many as 600 college and university teachers were detained Friday during their march to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Under the leadership of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), the teachers have been protesting against a recent notification issued by the University Grants Commission, increasing their workload and allegedly threatening the employment of 5,000 ad-hoc teachers.
The protesters marched from Mandi House to Shastri Bhavan. DUTA president Nandita Narain said, “We are protesting the refusal of the MHRD to give a written assurance that the workload norms will remain unchanged…”
She added, “The secretary, MHRD, refused to meet DUTA office bearers. Instead, he conveyed through his staff that ‘the matter has been resolved’. We strongly condemn the MHRD for refusing to talk to representatives. If the government has met the demands of teachers, it should announce it explicitly, leaving no ambiguity, so that normalcy can be restored at the earliest.”
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The teachers have been boycotting evaluation of undergraduate exam papers since May 24, arguing that the new norms would wreak havoc with their employment and the pupil-teacher ratio.
The new gazette notification has increased the workload for assistant professors from 16 hours of “direct teaching” per week (including tutorials) to 18 hours, plus another six tutorials, bringing the total to 24 hours. Similarly, the work hours of associate professors have been increased from 14 to 22.
DUTA has called for an extended executive meeting Saturday “to assess the situation and decide the future course of action”.