At the top colleges in Delhi University, where applicants have to score above 95% to stand a chance at getting admission, a portion of the teaching staff has been living a life of insecurity for several years.
Matters came to a head earlier this week, when thousands of ad hoc teachers laid siege to the office of the Vice-Chancellor, demanding that a circular that put their jobs in jeopardy be withdrawn. Their larger and persistent demand, however, is that they be absorbed in the teaching positions where they have served as ad hocs — some for more than 15 years.
There are an estimated 4,000-4,500 ad hoc teachers in Delhi University, which is almost half the total teaching strength.This practice is not only prevalent in the less popular colleges, but also in top-ranking institutions.
At the Political Science department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, where the closing cut-off for the honours course was 98%, out of the 17 faculty members, 13 are ad hoc. In the same college, the Economics department has a staff strength of 14. Of these, six are permanent, seven ad hoc and one temporary. The cut-off for the course was 98%.
At Shri Ram College of Commerce, the first choice of most students who want to pursue economics and commerce, the situation is similar. In B.Com (honours) course, the cut-off of which was 98.5%, there are only 37 permanent teachers out of a staff strength of 89 . The remaining 52 are ad hoc teachers.
In Economics, where the first cut-off was 98.75%, of the 24 teaching positions, 10 are filled by permanent teachers and the remaining 14 by ad hocs.
In colleges such as Ramjas and Daulat Ram, there are more ad hoc teachers than permanent ones.
Ad hoc teachers do not enjoy the same benefits and leaves as compared to permanent teachers. This also means that they do not get paid leave for research projects, nor do they get study leave. The last time that permanent appointments took place was in 2015, when close to 500 teachers were hired in a few departments.
In Miranda House, which is the top-ranking college according to the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF), there are eight permanent and 10 ad hoc teachers in the Physics department. Permanent appointments were made in the department in 2010.
In the Political Science department, by contract, there are 11 permanent teachers as opposed to two ad hoc teachers. Appointments in the department were made in 2015.
“The situation in colleges that have not seen permanent appointments in nine years is very bad. In Daulat Ram College, for example, around two-third of the staff is ad hoc. Ramjas is in a similar condition. In Miranda House, a few appointments were made in 2015, so the situation is a little better there,” said Abha Dev Habib, former DU executive council member and Miranda House physics faculty member.
The changes in the August 28 circular, effected by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Thursday as well as Friday, have failed to quell the protests as teachers are demanding absorptions in their current positions. The university and ministry, however, are offering a chance to appear for interviews.
In a meeting Thursday, it was decided that the circular shall be amended and “colleges/institutes shall fill up permanent vacancies before the start of the next academic session without fail. During the interim, if vacancies have to be filled, adhoc/temporary/contract guest faculty can be appointed”.