Low pay, gruelling working conditions for govt guest faculty

Though schools and colleges are faced with vacancies, guest faculty run the show

 Raising concerns about the State government’s arbitrary approach towards teacher and lecturer recruitment, a look into the working conditions of guest faculty across various departments shows an unflattering trend.

There has been an uproar in the recently concluded Legislature session in Belagavi, over the poor pay for Government First Grade College guest lecturers in the State. However, it is not limited to just them as guest faculty across board are being put through endless hassles.

Even with a PhD and clearance from a national-level or state-level qualifying test like NET or SLET, candidates who work as guest faculty receive poor pay and gruelling working conditions.

First Grade College lecturers are paid a salary of Rs 10,000 if they have PhD/ NET/ SLET qualification and Rs 8,000 if they just have a post graduate degree.
The situation is no different for engineering graduates working in government and aided engineering colleges. The minimum qualification to teach in engineering colleges is a degree in M Tech. These lecturers too are paid a monthly salary of Rs 10,000.
The Department of Technical Education, responsible for recruitment in government and aided engineering colleges conducted the last recruitment in 2010-11.

There are 10 government engineering colleges in the State in addition to one evening college and eleven aided colleges. According to the Director of Technical Education H U Talwar, an estimated 400 guest faculty are presently working in these colleges.

The department has proposed an increase in their pay. “We have requested the government to hike it to at least Rs 18,000 - 20,000,” he said adding that only 20 per cent of the staff in these colleges are guest faculty.

The guest faculty set up is not just an attribute of higher education institutions but schools too face a similar crisis. With a huge backlog in recruitment, there are 5,000 vacant assistant teacher posts for primary school and 800 vacancies for high school.
To run the show for the rest of the academic year, the Department of Public Instructions recently directed school principals to hire guest teachers (for the remaining four months) for a salary of Rs 5,500 for primary teachers and Rs 6,000 for high school teachers.

In a majority of the State universities, the salaries offered to guest faculty is Rs 16,000 per month for 16 hours of teaching every week.

Giving a comparison, a guest lecturer at Bangalore University (BU) told Deccan Herald: “In BU, guest lecturers are offered an attractive pay of Rs 32,000 for the same number of teaching hours. But we do not know when we will lose our jobs as this is a temporary arrangement. Also, we are paid salary for only ten months in a year, excluding Dasara and summer vacations.”

That apart, they are denied access to the university library, which is available for other lecturers, there by denying them access to teaching resources. They suffer on the leave front too as they work with inadequate sick leaves and other benefits that are offered to regular lecturers, the lecturer added.

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