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UGC ‘advice’: Teach longer, skip research

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The Telegraph | New Delhi, May 24 |  Basant Kumar Mohanty |

New Delhi, May 24: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has “advised” teachers to increase their workload and offered to exempt them from research if they teach more every week, triggering an agitation by some associations. According to the new guidelines notified earlier this month, an assistant professor is expected to teach 18 hours a week, two hours more than the 16-hour rule that was in place.  An associate professor’s teaching requirement, too, goes up by two hours to 16 hours. The 14-hour norm for professors remains unchanged. If a teacher puts two hours in practical classes in science courses, the regulation will treat it as one hour of teaching. The earlier 16-hour week included the full time spent on practical classes and tutorials.

Research activities by teachers in colleges and universities will no longer be mandatory.  If an assistant professor does not want to participate in research, he or she has to give six hours extra in tutorials every week. Added to the additional workload of two hours, this will mean that an assistant professor who does not want to undertake research needs to teach for 24 hours a week.  Under the earlier regulation, a teacher needed to get a certain score from teaching as well as research activities, such as attending conferences and seminars, to be eligible for promotion. Several associations of teachers have been opposing the norms, saying most colleges in the country do not have basic facilities.  However, the changes have failed to pacify the teachers’ organisations. While the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Associations (Aifucta) called the new regulation anti-teacher, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (Duta) today boycotted evaluation of papers of the last semester examination.

“The workload of assistant professors will increase by more than 50 per cent. Since they will put in more teaching hours, there is no need for ad hoc teachers. All the 4,000 ad hoc teachers will lose their jobs,” said Abha Dev Habib, a Duta member. Vinay Sheel Oberoi, the secretary of the higher education department under the HRD ministry, sought to dispel such apprehensions. “We are maintaining the workload. The additional requirement of two hours of teaching work per week is advisory only,” Oberoi said.  Asked whether a teacher could skirt the additional two hours, Oberoi said: “There is no incentive or anything but why should they not follow it?”  “The government is trying to fool (teachers) by saying the two hours are advisory. That provision must be withdrawn,” Habib, the Duta member, said. Former Aifucta general secretary Ashok Barman said the organisation would soon hold meetings with teachers’ forums and launch an agitation against the regulation. “Everywhere there is unrest. The increased workload will lead to reduction in the creation of posts in universities and colleges,” Barman said. The new regulations also say that students’ feedback on the performance of teachers would be collected for the promotion of the teachers. Some fear the provision might be misused on politically charged campuses if sections of students and teachers differ over ideology. –  Courtesy


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