Lecturers see red over six more hours of teaching rule

The recent directions by the State government to increase the number of teaching hours in Government First Grade Colleges, snatching away time meant for research activities, has created discontent among lecturers.

As per the new directions, the teaching hours for lecturers will be increased from the present 16 per week to 22. What has come as a shock for lecturers is the reason cited by the government for the decision—since government colleges do not have a “system for research”, the lecturers might as well make use of the time for extra teaching. A circular issued by the Department of Collegiate Education (DCE) on November 10 quotes UGC norms where in a minimum of six hours per week have to be allocated for research activities for the teacher.

However, the circular stated: “Considering that there is no system for research in government colleges, it is natural that minimum six hours to be allotted (for research) may be shifted to teaching. This way the requirement of teachers needs to be calculated with 22 hours teaching workload instead of 16 hours.” 

Lecturers, who have taken objection to this circular, said the whole point of UGC giving provision for research was to increase the quality of higher education, which the government was diluting with this new direction. Angry lecturers said the government was running the education department like revenue department.

Administration point
“Every day, it issues ten different circulars. Not all are practical. It is not focusing on academics. It is looking at it only from administration point of view,” a lecturer complained.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, president of Karnataka Government College Teachers Association, H Prakash, said that in the wake of this new direction, the association has submitted a representation to Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande explaining the issue. The minister has assured to look into it and the lecturers are hoping for a positive response from the government.

The lecturers have argued that one needs at least 300 academic performance indicator points to get promoted from the post of assistant professor to associate professor. For this, they need to have published research papers in international journals and should have published works. This needs a good amount of time dedicated for research work.

Further, the DCE has encouraged colleges to apply for NAAC accreditation. For this too, the faculty in the colleges need to have strong research background. Besides, the lecturers need quality time for reading existing syllabus to be able to do justice to it.

“Students these days come to classes with internet on their mobile phones. If you quote statistics, they will immediately cross check it online. If the information given by the lecturer is outdated, they will correct them immediately. Just speaking in the classroom for one hour and making sense requires lot of reading. We cannot fool students,” Prakash added.

With the ongoing semester break, lecturers are hoping that the government would hear the plea and revoke the direction in time for reopening for the new semester.

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