Teachers opt for pvt varsities for promotion's sake
Eligibility criteria to become associate professor upsets JNU academia
In Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia, there are no ad hoc teachers as such, but the two Central universities do have guest lecturers and visiting faculty.
JNU has around 60 guest lecturers, most of them in the languages department.
In principle the university tries to keep the strength of the guest faculty at the School of Social Sciences as low as possible. “The visiting faculty can come and teach. They are given more honorarium compared to the guest faculty. PhD students teach some of the undergraduate courses,” says JNU teachers’ association secretary Saradindu Bhaduri.
The guest lecturers are not preferred because teaching in JNU requires an extensive commitment, says the professor. “In our courses, the interaction doesn’t stop in classrooms. It is a continuous process.” Students lose out if there is one guest lecturer for one class and someone else for the next one.
Recruitment against vacant post is taking place at JNU, a lot of it the last six to seven months. But there was hardly any recruitment between 2009 and 2012, says Bhaduri.
“The UGC’s new regulation had created a lot of confusion as to how to recruit,” he says. The University Grants Commission has changed the promotions’ criteria, creating problems in Central universities.
“It is a setback as an assistant professor is eligible to become associate professor only after 12 years of experience. Earlier, it was nine years. This has caused a tremendous amount of frustration. And many assistant professors are leaving Central universities and joining private universities,” says Bhaduri.
“And for the second promotion, from associate professor to professor, one should have three years of experience. To become associate professor one must supervise at least two PhD students, which is not possible in three years,” he says. “So we propose for becoming associate professor the required experience should be nine years, and to become professor it should be three years.”
There are also complaints about the form-filling needed.
Due to this ‘bureaucratisation’ of higher education, people have stopped coming to Central universities, says Bhaduri.
Assistant professors say guest lecturers are the worst paid. “They are paid Rs 1,200 per lecture. On the contrary, the visiting professors are paid on a monthly basis,” says Rohit, assistant professor at Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at JNU.
Students pursuing PhD take up guest lectureship to gain experience so as to get into the permanent faculty. Guest lecturers are appointed on lecture basis whereas the ad hoc faculty is hired per semester basis.
Rohit says shortage of permanent jobs is a major problem everywhere, whether it is DU or JNU. “Increasing recruitment on contractual basis is making students wary. Any person finishing PhD will be in a limbo. There is no job. Academics is difficult,” adds Rohit.
“The student-teacher ratio in the university is 10:1. This problem is bigger in bigger universities. Students join IGNOU and SOL (distance learning varsities) not out of choice but they are forced to opt for them,” he says.
“There is also a language barrier. The medium of instruction is English. Students don’t get books in their regional languages. The reference books should be translated into other languages also, not just in Hindi. They are good students till they qualify for the PhD programme. But when they come to JNU, they face a big problem,” he adds.