DU teachers march to Parliament against new UGC norms

Scores of Delhi University teachers, who are boycotting evaluation of undergraduate exams in protest against the new UGC criteria to ascertain their academic performance, today marched to Parliament over the issue.

The teachers argue that the new amendments will lead to job-cuts to the tune of 50% and drastically increase pupil-teacher ratio in higher education. Their protest entered the seventh day today.

The protesters, including DU teachers, members of staff associations of other universities in the national capital and a group of JNU students, were stopped midway by police near Parliament Street police station.

Few agitating teachers then went to the HRD Ministry and submitted a memorandum of demands to officials.

"By introducing such retrogressive amendments to the UGC regulations, this government is pushing the academic talent of the nation back to the trailing end of the global knowledge society," a teacher said.

The new gazette notification has increased the workload for assistant professors from 16 hours of "direct teaching" per week to 18 hours plus another six hours of tutorials, bringing the total to 24. Similarly the work hours of associate professors have been increased from 14 to 22.

However, the HRD Ministry had last week defended the new UGC criteria for Academic Performance Indicators for college and university teachers, saying it provides "more flexibility" even as it ruled out any possibility of reduction in number of teaching jobs.

"The ministry's stubborn stand has damaged the job prospects of 5,000 young teachers of DU alone and has put a question mark on the promotions and career advancement of the entire teaching community.

"This attack on the educated youth who are shouldering the responsibility of running the biggest public-administered system of affordable, inclusive and quality-driven higher education undermines the very mandate of this government," a member of the Delhi University Teachers' Association said.

The teachers have been boycotting the evaluation process since May 24 and will continue with it till June 2.

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