THE HARYANA government’s proposal to pull teaching and non-teaching staff from government-aided private colleges and adjust them in government colleges has not been received favourably by the former, which have been run by educational societies for the past several decades. The Indian Express explains contentious aspects of the issue.
How do government-aided private colleges function?
The state has 97 government-aided private colleges. According to college managements, more than two lakh students study in these colleges. Initially, social bodies had constructed schools in their areas by forming educational societies. Later, these bodies started colleges. Infrastructure of these colleges was developed through the participation of people. They are being run by educational societies like DAV, Vaish Society, Khalsa Society, Jat Society and Sanatan Dharma (SD) Society. “The government had later started giving lump sum grant to these colleges which continued till the 60s.
In the seventies, teachers and non-teaching staff had launched a stir seeking improvement in their working conditions, which got support from students as well. Then, the government grant-in-aid for salary of teachers and non-teaching staff was raised to 95%. Currently, more than 50 per cent of the total college students in Haryana are studying in government-aided private colleges,” said Jarnail Singh, convener of a social organisation, Haryana Jan Shiksha Adhikar Manch, which has launched a campaign against the “take over” of the staff of aided colleges.
Why does the government want to take over staff of these colleges?
According to education department officials, they made the move after getting representation from a section of college teachers. They claim that most of the teachers’ associations are in favour of it. As per the proposal, once the process of pulling their staff and adjusting them in government colleges is over, no grant-in-aid will be provided to these 97 private colleges.
Why do activists oppose the proposal?
Activists say that in the absence of grant-in-aid, these institutions will turn into complete private colleges. “The quality of teaching will be hit once the qualified staff are taken out. Salaries for teachers who will be recruited on contractual and temporary basis may go down to Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 in these private colleges. The public funded structure of higher education in Haryana will be ruined and reduced to nearly half with 97 colleges turning into private colleges in one go. The infrastructure of these colleges like labs, libraries, seminar rooms and sports facilities will be under-utilised due to non-availability of regular staff. Not only this, if the teachers of government-aided colleges are adjusted in government colleges, there will be no fresh recruitment for them for almost a decade,” said Jarnail Singh, retired principal of a government school. “The government should either take over these colleges including the entire infrastructure and staff or provide these colleges 100% grant-in-aid and facilities to staff at par with government colleges.”
What is the opinion of managements of these colleges?
“If sanctioned posts are withdrawn from these colleges, they will have to depend on the self-financing system for their survival. It will not be possible to run such colleges, especially in rural areas. Higher education will become very costly and won’t be affordable for poor and middle-class students of rural backgrounds,” the managements of 45 colleges mentioned in a memorandum sent to the state government.
What do teachers unions say?
Rajbir Singh, Haryana president of the College Teachers Association (CTA), said that the government should take over the staff of government-aided private colleges keeping in view the BJP’s promise for the same in its manifesto released ahead of 2014 Assembly polls. “There are 2,184 teachers and 1,178 non- teaching staff in 97 aided colleges. They are deprived of facilities like medical, LTC and children education allowance. Employees of these colleges have to work under constant threat towards their job security. Many cases have been opened against the employees, some are pending with the director-general, higher education, and few are in Punjab and Haryana High Court. The government has to waste so much of time and money in resolving such cases. In majority of the cases, employees win the case and the government has to bear the financial burden,” said Singh.
The government is still considering different aspects of the matter before taking a final call on the proposal. Many students unions of the state have planned to oppose the proposal. Kurukshetra University leader Suman Ghadwal said they will soon convene a meeting of different students’ unions. “If the government is seriously keen to fill the vacant posts of government colleges, it should conduct fresh recruitments for the same. It’s not fair to fill the posts of government colleges at the cost of quality of education in government-aided private colleges.”