The UGC regulations on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges may be amended, the HRD ministry said on Thursday after its officials held a meeting with office-bearers of Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) over the issue of absorption of ad-hoc teachers.
The teachers had barricaded the vice-chancellor's office over the issue on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, as a large number of teachers tried to enter the vice-chancellor's office to meet their protesting colleagues, they faced barricades at the entrance and heavy police presence. As the teachers tried to pass through the barricades, they were stopped by police. The protesting teachers alleged that police assaulted them and some of their colleagues sustained.
While standing outside, the teachers continued with their protest and raised slogans and expressed solidarity with the around 200 to 300 colleagues, who have been staying inside the vice-chancellor's office building since Wednesday.
The HRD ministry held a meeting with the university's vice-chancellor, University Grants Commission's (UGC) chairman, secretary and other officials on Thursday. Later in the day, the ministry and UGC officials also held a meeting with DUTA office-bearers. This came after DUTA held talks with the university administration, including the vice-chancellor, overnight but the talks were inconclusive.
The ministry, in a statement, said the UGC Regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education 2018, may be amended.
"It is expected that with the changes, all the ad-hoc/temporary/contract teachers with requisite eligibility, and have taught/have been teaching in the current academic session in the university/Institution/college would be short-listed for the interview for permanent positions," the ministry said.
According to DUTA, however, not all ad-hoc faculty is eligible for interviews for permanent posts but the ministry has suggested some changes, which the teachers' body is still not satisfied with. The teachers also demanded withdrawal of the August 28 circular which mandated the appointment of guest teachers against substantive vacancies.
"The colleges/institutions shall fill up permanent vacancies before the start of the next academic session without fail. During the interim period, if vacancies which have to be filled for maintaining smooth academic functioning of the colleges/ institutions, temporary/contract/guest faculty can be appointed," the ministry said. It also directed that the university will decide on all promotion cases quickly.
DUTA vice-president Alok Ranjan Pandey told PTI, "We discussed with the officials and demanded that there be a one-time regulation for absorption of teachers, but there was no assurance. However, they told us that the August 28 circular for the appointment of guest teachers against substantive posts will be drafted again to replace the words 'guest teachers' with 'ad-hoc teachers."
According to the DUTA, the ministry and the UGC said that further dialogue is only possible if they end their siege. However, a final call on continuance of the agitation will be taken on Friday.
Rasal Singh, a member of Academic Council said, "This is a historic movement. The teachers are fighting for their rights, employment and their promotions. There should be a resolution of all the issues." He said almost 400 teachers, who were appointed after July 20 this year, had lost their jobs due to the August 28 circular, but the ministry assured them that their jobs would not be lost.