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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teachers' body for indefinite strike

NEW DELHI:21 Oct 2008, 0019 hrs IST, Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN
Teachers in Central universities are gearing up for prolonged agitation and indefinite strikes, as they feel that Chadha Committee's Pay R
eview Committee (PRC) report has failed to satisfy their demands. Sources said the teachers are going on a two-day strike from October 22 across 24 Central universities in the country. In November, the teachers will march to the Parliament. Teachers' associations of Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Jawaharlal Nehru University and Indira Gandhi National Open University will join the agitation called by the Federation of Central Universities Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA) in the Capital. The PRC report was submitted on October 3, following which the teachers met the University Grant Commission officials, including chairman Sukhadeo Thorat, and demanded review of the recommendation. The Ministry of Human Resource and Development also set up a committee to examine the PRC report. The empowered committee of HRD Ministry believed to have rejected the PRC's recommendation for band 3 for readers and to place them in band 4. Speaking to Times City on the anomalies in the PRC report and their demand, a section of teachers in the Capital said that a principal of an undergraduate college
and a reader of an university at present falls in the same pay band. But the report recommended the upgradation of the principal to the band 4, while the readers have been placed in band 3. "Now the central government employees
with annual increment of Rs 400 and end pay of Rs 18,300 have all been placed in band 4, whereas readers with an annual increment of Rs 420 and end pay of Rs 18,300 are placed in band 3. It amounts to violation of principal of equity,'' said Tabrez Alam Khan, faculty, JMI. "We are not ready to accept any discriminatory increment system,'' added Shiva Panda, faculty, Satyawati College (evening). Another factor which is disturbing the teachers is that the Pay Commission has reduced the payscale from existing 36 to 18, while in the universities' four-tier system (from lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and professor) has been increased from four to seven by the Chadha Committee. "We are concerned as we came to know that instead of solving our problems, the empowered committee is planning to create one more cadre at the entry level making it eight in all. We are against such a multi-layered system as it is against the basic principles of the Central Pay Commission,'' said Aditya Narayan Mishra, president, FEDCUTA. The teachers are also protesting the introduction of peer review and students evaluation system for promotions of teachers. JNU is one university which already has an evaluation system by students. Reacting to the recommendations K M Chenoy, faculty, JNU said: "There is already a rigorous peer review for the teachers. Regarding students evaluation, many of us in JNU practice this to understand students' perception on courses and teaching-learning methods. But if we bring it for promotions, two things can happen. Colleagues can instigate students, which we know happens or students would evaluate on the basis of which teacher is lenient in giving marks or don't take attendance. Even in the West, students evaluation is delinked from administrative action.''
manash.gohain@timesgroup.com

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