In the upcoming Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) elections, about 10 teachers’ organisations have joined forces to challenge the National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF) backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The DUTA elections are scheduled to be held on September 27.
The Democratic Teachers Union alliance has nominated Aditya Narayan Misra as their joint candidate for the position of DUTA president whereas the NDTF has nominated Dr AK Bhagi as their presidential candidate.
“Regularisation of ad-hoc teachers, promotion of teachers and beyond this, regular grants to the 12 Delhi government- funded colleges is our aim…,” said Bhagi, who has been teaching at Dyal Singh College for over two decades.
Bhaghi also stated that when the NDTF was in power in DUTA, it pushed the university to regularise permanent appointments of teaching staff.
Misra, who has been a three-time president of DUTA, said, “I have been part of Delhi University all my life. I have been an ad-hoc teacher and was thrown out so I understand how it feels. I can connect to the pain of the people who have been ousted.” He said regularisation of ad-hoc teachers is one of their main agenda which they will take up this academic session.
Misra has been teaching Political Science at DU since 1986.
The alliance has been formed by ten organisations, including, DTF, AADTA, INTEC, Common Teachers’ Front (CTF), Delhi Teachers’ Initiative (DTI), Independent Teachers’ Front for Social Justice (ITF-SJ), Samajwadi Shikshak Manch (SSM), Voice of DU Adhocs, AADTA, and several teachers.
The alliance, in a statement Friday, claimed the outgoing (present) DUTA committee has been hand-in glove in furthering anti-academic and anti-teacher moves. It has also undermined the functioning of wider trade unions of teachers such as FEDCUTA that are fighting against privatisation and for restoration of the old pension scheme.
The DUTA elections this year are being held in the backdrop of an existential crisis confronting the public character of Delhi University and public higher education in the country as a whole. There have been a series of policy-driven efforts to undermine public higher education that are centred around the NEP 2020, it added.
They further highlighted the issues of opposing the adoption of graded autonomy category 1 status of DU as it permits opening of new academic courses, new centres, skill courses, research parks etc. which would lead to university hiring on a self-finance basis.
On Friday, Finance Minister Atishi, who also holds the education portfolio, expressed displeasure over non-release of Rs 100 crore to Delhi government’s 12 fully-funded DU colleges, as per an official notification
“On 28th June 2023, I approved the release of Rs 100 crore as the second quarterly grant was announced. But this fund has not reached colleges yet despite one and half months having lapsed,” Atishi said in a statement.