Millennium Post
Nation

Payment pending, no recruitment for guest lecturers across government universities

New Delhi: Over the past decade contract based professors and guest lecturers have been hired against permanent post vacancies across government universities. All India Survey for Higher Education presents a fall in number of permanent posts across universities by approximately 50,000 in the last five years. Against these vacancies, temporary professors and guest lecturers were hired on contract. Since the advent of online classes, scores of guest lecturers have been axed down by government institutions.

The spurt in layoffs varying from institution to institutions has left many young aspiring professors in jeopardy. Most professors belonging to different parts of the country compelled to return to their hometowns during the lockdown had to travel back and forth to universities to negotiate their remunerations.

Guest lecturers at these universities are paid for the number of classes and hours they put in to teaching, their pays are minimal compared to those teaching on a contractual basis or are permanents.

According to sources, Garwhal Central University in Uttarakhand slashed off all of its guest lecturers. Meanwhile, many who were associated with various institutions of Delhi University under conditions of anonymity complained about not being paid for their services for the past six months ever since their removal.

Ever since the removal of guest lecturers, one of the major concerns amidst the contractual professors has been that of job security.

"The workload on a virtual platform itself poses a great challenge. We have heavy student numbers in each class. Lack of interaction and network glitch is another prime factor. But ever since online classes have begun, the scrutiny in part of the institution has become even more stringent. Failure to submit class reports means the salary will be affected," said an assistant professor of Delhi University under conditions of anonymity.

As a sense of fear of constant check looms across universities, sources also shared instances when their respective institutions called them back from their hometowns in a prior notice of 12 hours or else their contracts would be terminated.

Another such instance was when the institution heads asked assistant professors to provide proof that they were in the city by sending pictures with the current date newspapers on a regular basis.

Abha Dev Habib, treasurer of Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) said: "Guest lecturers live off the margin and they are the ones worst hit. Indeed they have not received pays. Such a situation has occurred because the time table is staggered. The first year admissions are yet to take place. Where the government could ease loans of big corporate companies, they could have also provided relief to the education sector as well."

With unlock process underway, many vacancies for contractual and permanent posts are opening up, respite seems to be far away in the queue for those eligible to teach as guest lecturers only.

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