Permanent college teachers oppose increase in workload

Government has asked them to teach for two hours more

Permanent teachers in government and aided colleges have strongly opposed the decision by the Department of Collegiate Education (DCE) to increase their teaching hours, saying their job is “no desk work”.

The DCE has ruled that permanent faculty members would have to teach for an extra two hours and guest lecturers should not be engaged unless there are at least four hours of additional teaching work. But if there is a just one permanent teacher in a college, he/she will have to teach for four extra hours. Put simply, BA and BCom lecturers may have to teach for 18 hours a week, up from 16 earlier, and their BSc counterparts 20 hours, up from 18.

Critics say the decision is “unilateral” as teachers were not consulted at all.
“The decision is the outcome of a recent meeting between college principals and DCE officials. We were not consulted at all,” said K M Nagaraj, President, Bangalore University College Teachers’ Association (Bucta).

Another “drawback”, the opponents point out, is that the decision lacks a sound scientific basis. Decisions on teaching hours, pay scale, promotion, etc are usually decided by a team of educationists having more than 30 years’ experience in the field.

“As per the University Grants Commission (UGC), 2006 guidelines adopted by Karnataka on December 24, 2009, the workload for professors and associate professors is 14 hours and assistant professors 16 hours. We also followed the D M Nanjundappa Committee report,” Nagaraj added.

Senior DCE officials, however, justify the decision, saying it is to reduce dependence on guest faculty. But permanent teachers fear the burden of conducting more classes will ultimately fall on them.

“In addition to the prescribed teaching hours, we also spend a lot of time on other things like organising co-curricular activities which are not accounted for,” Chandrashekhar, a professor at R C College of Commerce and Management in the City, said.

Order to be withdrawn?

A delegation of the Federation of University College Teachers’ Association of Karnataka and Bucta reasoned with the DCE Commissioner recently to get the order withdrawn. “We tried to explain to the authorities that teaching is not desk work. For an hour of teaching, we have to prepare for at least two hours. Increasing the teaching hours will burden teachers, deprive the students of quality teaching and reduce job opportunities for new teachers,” Nagaraj added.

The DCE Director, B L Bhagyalakshmi, said the matter was being looked into and a decision would come soon. A senior official in the Higher Education Department hinted the decision might be withdrawn in a day or two.

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