From no maternity leaves to stumbling blocks in their own research, many woes of Delhi University’s (DU) ad hoc teachers have reached a tipping point with the current series of events.
“When I first joined DU as an ad hoc teacher, I saw it as only a temporary situation. I didn’t think it would take more than a year or two to get inducted as a permanent teacher,” said a 40-year-old commerce teacher in one of the university’s colleges, who has been working in an ad hoc capacity for the last 10 years. She received her PhD from DU in this year’s convocation ceremony.
In these ten years, her salary — like all other ad hoc teachers’ salaries — has not seen a single annual increment, apart from hikes in dearness allowance. Currently, an ad hoc teacher in DU earns the starting-level of a permanent teacher’s salary of approximately Rs 80,000 per month.
Teachers of Delhi University protest inside Vice Chancellor's office against appointments.
“If an ad hoc teacher is appointed today, they will be paid the same amount as those who have been working for 15-16 years as ad hoc teachers,” she said.
Most ad hoc teachers have worked in that capacity for at least five years. They argue this even acts as a disadvantage for them in the screening process for permanent posts.
“Even before interviews for positions, our API score is calculated, in which one of the components is our academic achievements. We are pitted against students who have graduated recently in a system which gives out marks far more liberally than back when we graduated — when getting more than 60% was very difficult. There is no moderation. On the other hand, points for teaching experience increases with years of experience only up till 10 points, after which it plateaus. Those with 15-20 years of experience have no additional advantage in this case,” said Pooja, an ad hoc history teacher at DU for the last seven years.
Other grievances are related to lack of leaves — teachers are not eligible for maternity leave, are not entitled to medical leave, and get four casual leaves and four earned leaves during their 120-day working periods. Apart from fallouts in personal life and health, they also complain of it hindering their research.
“We are doing administrative and academic work from 9 am to 5 pm every day, without any research sabbatical or other uninterrupted time to dedicate to our academic work. My PhD is stalled as I’m unable to give it time,” said Pallavi, an ad hoc political science teacher since 2013.
“The fact that vacancies of permanent posts are not being filled up is not our failure, it is the failure of the university. In any case, we have been teaching students for a decade. We will continue teaching successive batches in the same classrooms if we become permanent. If we are incapable, why have we been kept in the colleges for all these years?,” said an ad hoc teacher of statistics for the last nine years.