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MHRD must take all stakeholders on board

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The New Indian Express  |  07th June 2016 |

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development ends up courting controversies with each of its attempts to change the education system. The latest in this series is a gazette notification of UGC Regulations which, on the face of it, appears aimed at rationalising the workload of college and university teaching staff and also to implement a “scientific” appraisal system. The notification is, however, being interpreted as an attempt to cut ad hoc teaching positions, which would result in the sacking of thousands of ad hoc staff and, on the other hand, scuttle promotion and career growth opportunities of permanent teaching staff. University teachers across the country are up in arms against the MHRD. Before going into the merits of the arguments it needs to be pointed out that there is distrust between the Ministry and the academic community. The MHRD must take steps to address the trust deficit by adopting a more conciliatory and consultative approach.

There is a perception that university teachers have a lot of spare time and any attempt to optimise their services should be welcomed. The MHRD appears to have a similar opinion which reduces the idea of teaching to classroom lectures, while teachers engage and mentor students outside classrooms. They also spend hours in preparation, in carrying out research and in fulfilling administrative responsibilities. Since the existing teaching staff at current working loads will not be sufficient to meet a college’s total teacher requirements, ad hoc and temporary teaching staff are hired. Increasing and redefining working hours would result in loss of jobs for thousands of temporary and ad hoc teachers, who have worked tirelessly for years with the hope of being regularised. Though the government is trying to allay this and fears relating to appraisals, it should not let this repeat with regard to its major initiative, the New Education Policy. Hope the MHRD ensures that it takes everyone on board. –  Courtesy


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