Teaching and non-teaching staff of all colleges affiliated to state universities in Gujarat can work from home. In an order issued by the state education department on July 1, all the teaching and non-teaching staff of all public universities have been asked to work from home instead of going to respective institutes.
The decision has been taken after the Ministry of Human Resource Development Secretary Amit Khare issued a letter on June 30 stating that in order to ensure safety, faculty members, teachers, researchers and non-teaching staff of higher education institutions should be permitted to work from home till July 31.
In its order, the state government has, however, made it mandatory for the teaching and non-teaching staff to remain available on mobile phone and e-mail.
“Unlike earlier when the teaching staff was made to come to the institution even for online classes, now they can do that from home. Same applies to the non-teaching staff. These instructions have been passed keeping in view the MHRD directions for Covid-19,” said principal secretary, education, Anju Sharma.
This period shall be counted as being on duty for all including faculty members, teachers, researchers, non-teaching staff covering even ad-hoc and contract teachers whose contracts are valid till July 31.
“Faculty members, teachers, researchers should utilise this period for various academic activities,” the letter states.
However, while the faculty has welcomed this move, vice-chancellors are viewing this relaxation with scepticism.
“These days, mostly everyone has the facility of a laptop and internet at home so it is good that they can now teach or do their work from home while keeping themselves safe,” said one of the professors of a government college.
“The entire staff of an institution cannot say they will work from home. For this, the order has a provision where the head of the institution has the authority to decide and call its staff as per requirement,” Gujarat Technological University (GTU) Vice-Chancellor Navin Sheth said.
GTU is one of the largest state universities with over 4 lakh students enrolled in above 480 technical colleges affiliated to it.
The order also states that it has to be ensured that the Aarogya Setu app is installed by students, faculty and employees as ‘the app enables easy identification of potential risk of infection’.
While examinations of final year students are still pending in higher and technical institutions, online classes have already commenced from June. Also, admission process is under process which is entirely online, this year.
According to another order issued by the state education department on July 2, the head of the higher education institution can call teaching and non-teaching faculty as per their requirement for admission work, however, no staff from containment zones will be allowed to report to office.
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