Guest lecturers in State protest raw deal

Guest lecturers across the State protested on Monday demanding payment of salary on time, sick leave, maternity leave, among other things.

The protesters said they were in constant fear of losing their job as the government had been transferring lecturers from aided colleges to their posts. They alleged that they were paid salary once in three months.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, one of the protesting guest lecturers said that even though he was working in a college for the past eight years, he was not sure he would keep his job the next academic year.

“It is an insecure atmosphere. We have been requesting the government to not transfer those from aided colleges to our posts,” he said. While earlier (in 2011-12) guest lecturers used to get their salary once a year, following sustained protests, they are now being paid once in three months, they said.

There are only about 3,800 permanent teachers in first grade colleges as opposed to 11,682 guest lecturers. While the sanctioned posts for guest lecturers are 4,900, only 3,800 posts have been filled. There are 458 first grade colleges across the State. At present, a lecturer with a postgraduate degree draws a salary of Rs 8,000, while a lecturer with NET/ SLET/ PhD qualification is paid Rs 10,000. The lecturers’ association demanded that the government give them a uniform pay of Rs 25,000, irrespective of their educational qualification.

Demanding maternity leave for women lecturers, B Rajashekara Murthy, honorary president, Karnataka State Government First Grade College Guest Lecturers’ Association, said that of the 11,682 guest lecturers, more than 5,000 were women.
None of them gets maternity leave. “They go on loss of pay for child delivery and come back in one and half months risking their health,” he said.

“There is no job guarantee for them if they take maternity leave. By the time they return, the government would have hired another temporary lecturer in their place and these women stand the risk of losing their jobs.”

Also, the number of teaching hours for permanent lecturers has been increased from 16 hours to 24 hours a week. As per the University Grants Commission norms, the number of working hours should not exceed 16 hours.

By increasing the number of working hours per lecturer, the government is looking at reducing the number of posts of lecturers, Murthy alleged. The lecturers alleged that the MLAs, who are part of College Development Committees, had not attended a single committee meeting till date. The association demanded that the MLAs take up the matter for discussion in the upcoming Belgavi session of the Cabinet, failing which, it threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike.

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