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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Interview with Delhi University registrar: ‘Colleges should have prevented spreading of rumours’

The Delhi University registrar, Tarun Kumar Das on why the situation escalated, and how the varsity plans to address it

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2019 1:19:59 pm
delhi university sexism, delhi university event sexism, delhi university women student sexism, delhi university, delhi city news The university never asked any college to stop salary of any teacher. In the meeting with DUPA and DUTA, the university’s stand on payment of salary was clarified: DU registrar

What was the purpose of the August 28 letter which said colleges could only appoint guest lecturers against new vacancies and not ad hocs?

The main purpose was to emphasise the importance of making permanent appointments at the earliest pursuant to UGC Regulations… It also drew attention to the revised guidelines dated January 28, 2019, issued by the UGC for appointment of guest faculty keeping in view that these guidelines provide higher honorarium to guest faculty and also a fair, transparent and credible selection process… The letter did not affect any teacher serving in the university departments or its colleges who have been selected through due process as per applicable rules and regulations.

The DU Principals’ Association had written to the administration seeking clarification on the letter and what it would mean for ad hocs already appointed. Why was there no prompt clarification from the university?

We received the letter from DUPA only on November 30. Three months had passed. This means there was no confusion in their minds for three months. In fact, ad hoc extension was done around November 15. Even when they sought clarification after more than three months, the Dean of Colleges and senior officials had a meeting with the DUPA president and secretary on December 1. The same day, a meeting was held with the DU Teachers’ Association office-bearers. In both meetings, the university clarified the matter. After that, there was no reason for any agitation.

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Salaries of ad hoc teachers were stopped; their appointment was kept in abeyance. What is the university’s stand on this?

The university never asked any college to stop salary of any teacher. In the meeting with DUPA and DUTA, the university’s stand on payment of salary was clarified. The Principals of the colleges are responsible for any action taken by them.

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What could the university have done differently to ensure the issue did not escalate to this extent?

The colleges’ administration should have taken measures to prevent spreading of rumours on non-payment of salary to teachers. The responsible teachers in colleges should not have allowed themselves to be misled by those who had little interest in promoting academic standards.

Both the university and colleges should have taken more effective measures to enforce the Code of Ethics of Teachers and Principals under the UGC Regulations 2018. The university and colleges should have sought the help of the stakeholders, including alumni, students and their parents, in enforcing the Code of Ethics.

DU has around 5,000 ad hoc teachers. How did it reach this stage and what does the university plan to do to check this in the future?

The issue of ad hocs is more than 10 years old. The university has advertised all the vacant posts of teachers in its departments. It has sent more than half a dozen letters and reminders to colleges to advertise vacant posts. Around 30 colleges have already advertised around 1,800 vacant posts of teachers. Screening is underway to shortlist candidates for conducting interviews in departments and colleges.

Recruitment drive was started in 2017 as well when Faculty of Law recruited 126 Assistant Professors on a permanent basis. During 2017-18, we also made 16 regular appointments at the Assistant Professor level at the Department of Education.

We are also making efforts to process pending promotion cases. A Joint Registrar (Promotion) has been appointed just 10 days back, along with one Deputy Registrar to expedite the process.

In the meeting between MHRD, UGC and DU Vice-Chancellor, it was decided to send directives to all colleges to fill up permanent posts before the start of the next academic session. How will this be ensured?

The MHRD has been exceptionally helpful. We are monitoring recruitment drives at colleges on a day to day basis… The university has already received 20,000 applications… Interviews are going to begin very shortly. Colleges have to do a lot to complete the process of permanent appointments.

The DUTA has said it will continue its strike until its demand for absorption is met. Where does the university stand on the issue of absorption?

MHRD has already said everything to be said on this. What can we say? The university and its colleges have advertised the vacant posts of Assistant Professors pursuant to UGC Regulations 2018 and a large number of ad hoc teachers have applied. Last time, in 2017, when posts of Assistant Professors were advertised, more than 3 lakh applications were received, including from a large number of serving ad hoc teachers.

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