UGC Revised Guidelines for Guest Faculty Appointments Hits Teaching-learning Process in DU
DU teachers have sought an urgent intervention to ensure the appropriate amendment of the Guidelines so that the 'immediate crisis in Delhi University is averted'.
File photo of Delhi University campus (Image: du.ac.in)
New Delhi: Guest lecturers across colleges are appointed to share the excess load of teaching, which is not adequately covered by the sanctioned strength. However, a UGC letter issued in January this year has left University teachers worried.
On January 28, 2019, the University Grants Commission issued a letter introducing new norms in the appointments of Guest Faculty. Apart from enhancing the remuneration, the UGC letter asked Universities to appoint a Selection Committee for guest faculty.
Seeking amendment in the revised guidelines, the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) wrote to UGC chairman DP Singh on July 23, 2019.
In the letter, DUTA President Rajib Ray and Secretary Vivek Chaudhary said, “The composition of the Selection Committee suggested is unreasonable as it will be near-impossible for the University to centrally ensure setting-up of the required committees to make such appointments even on a short-term basis or to meet any exigency.”
The revised Guidelines lay down certain rules for the selection process of Guest Faculty. “The Selection procedure for appointing Guest Faculty shall be the same as those of regularly appointed Assistant Professors. However, the composition of the Selection Committee shall have the VC or his or her nominee as the chairperson of the Selection Committee,” it said.
Contesting the enhancement, DUTA members told UGC head DP Singh that the University “has not yet been able to set up these selection committees for the same” and the new academic session has already begun. “The teaching-learning process in colleges and departments of Delhi University is very badly affected because appointment of Guest Faculty has been held up,” said DUTA.
Teachers have sought an urgent intervention to ensure the appropriate amendment of the Guidelines so that the “immediate crisis in Delhi University is averted and the colleges are able to provide proper teaching-learning environment to the students.”
This is not the first time that Delhi University teachers have expressed concern regarding this guideline. In April, this year, teachers wrote to DU VC Yogesh Tyagi regarding the amendment in the guidelines on the appointment of guest faculty, which were sent to Delhi University and its constituent colleges “without placing it first for discussion in any of the Statutory Bodies of the University.”
Objecting to the amendments, professors had told Tyagi that the move “constitutes a serious undermining of Statutory Bodies and hence, the University’s autonomy to take decisions in accordance with its existing Rules/ Regulations/ Ordinances.”
Secondly, while, there is an enhancement of the honorarium of Guest Faculty in keeping with the demand of the DUTA, there were serious objections raised to the changes made in the process of selection of such faculty.
“You would be aware that the rules of Delhi University do not allow for appointments other than permanent/ temporary or on ad-hoc basis and Guest Teachers are to be appointed in Delhi University and its colleges only in exceptional circumstances or for very short-term vacancies,” said DUTA letter in April, 2019.
Further, the teachers argued that the selection process suggested by the UGC to be the same as that of permanent appointments is “unacceptable” as it does not take into account that guest appointments are made in exigent situations where ad-hoc appointments cannot be made. “Once again, the UGC letter does not suit the context in which guest appointments are made in Delhi University and its colleges,” they added.
Adding to the dissent over the guidelines, Abha Dev Habib, Professor of Physics in Miranda House and a former member of Executive Council in DU, said, “There is chaos due to the revised guidelines on selection process of Guest Faculty. They are completely removed from realities in which DU hires the Guest Faculty - according to our need.”
She added, “With the new guidelines their selection has become centralised. DU with a large number of Departments and colleges can't function like that. Not much has been done so far.” The graver point according to her is, “We are heading for a huge loss in teaching time. If classes go unmet it will be loss for students and institutions.”
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