Don't raise work hours for regular staff: Guest lecturers

Don't raise work hours for regular staff: Guest lecturers

Fearing they will lose their jobs if the government implemented the proposed increase in the working hours of permanent lecturers in its degree colleges across the State, around 100 guest lecturers sat in protest at the office of the higher education department in MS Building here on Monday.

Fifty of them were later arrested by the Cubbon Park police when they tried to barge into the department’s office, protesting the lack of response from the authorities concerned.
There are 12,000-odd guest lecturers in government degree colleges across Karnataka. But none of them has received any order to continue with their services for this academic year.

The Department of Collegiate Education has made plans to increase the workload of arts and commerce lecturers from the present 16 hours per week to 22 hours, and in the case of science lecturers, from 20 hours to 26 hours. Guest lecturers see this as a death knell for their job prospects. The proposal on increasing working hours was almost implemented last year but was temporarily withheld following widespread protests.

Lokesh P C, vice president, Karnataka State Government Degree College Guest Lecturers’ Association, is a guest lecturer at the Government First Grade College at Gubbi in Tumakuru district where there are 18 permanent lecturers and 65 guest lecturers. “An increase in the workload of each permanent lecturer by six hours will result in one guest lecturer going out of work. The government order on continuance of our work usually comes by this time. But we haven’t received any directive as of now. This virtually renders all of us unemployed,” he said. Representatives of guest lec turers met Bharat Lal Meena, the Principal Secretary of Higher Education, later in the day. “He told us we could continue our work for this year but didn’t agree to withdraw the order on the workload increase. This is indirectly saying we would be out of work ,” Lokesh added.

The government has proposed allotting work on the basis of an online counselling that considers a number of factors such as qualification, experience of lecturers, etc.
 But lecturers point out flaws in the system. According to Lokesh, there is also no word on the committee that was supposed to be formed under noted writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa to look into various problems faced by guest lecturers such as  the salaries, making permanent deputations, etc. Meawhile, Meena was unavailable for any comments on the issue.

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