The Gauhati University (GU) students’ organisation Sakta Mukti Sangram has demanded a revocation of the University administration’s decision to terminate the services of 50 contractual teachers. The student body has written a letter to the Assam governor and GU chancellor Jagdish Mukhi for revoking the order.
In a shocking move, Gauhati University has terminated the services of around 50 contractual teachers with effect from June 30. A notification was released by the University authorities in this regard on July 2. The authorities have further mentioned that this is also applicable to those teachers whose contract period extends beyond June 30.
The organisation has stated that the services of the contractual faculties are crucial for a smooth continuation of academic commitments towards the student community as many posts of permanent teachers have been lying vacant for many days. The teachers who had been appointed on contractual basis had also otherwise helped to mitigate the pressure which otherwise had to be endured by the permanent teaching staff for irrational and unfavourable student-teacher ratio.
“This imprudent decision undertaken by university administration will hinder the larger interests of the student community, as in this extraordinary situation unveiled by the ongoing pandemic, the contractual faculties with their academic excellence and technical expertise have been playing a pivotal role in serving the needs of the student fraternity…Any undue intervention in this already complex circumstances will create further chaos which can’t be afforded at any cost…families of the contractual faculties are mostly dependent on this sole way of earning livelihoods and immediate cessation to that will cause a financial crisis in those families in this covid-induced environment,” read the letter.
The organisation has further demanded that until the completion of the permanent faculty recruitment process, the services of the contractual teachers should be retained.
The University has, however, not made any official announcement regarding the revocation of the order or recruiting more permanent teachers.
“University and colleges under GU have shortage of teachers. Probably, owing to the pandemic, this is a cost-cutting procedure where the students are being hugely hampered. University Law College under GU has only six permanent teachers. How can they possibly teach 700 students?” questioned a student of the college.
GU vice-chancellor PJ Handique said he faced criticism from the chancellor for engaging contractual teachers. “The chancellor is of the opinion that contractual teachers have degraded the quality of education in the University,” said a helpless VC.
GU administration had two rounds of talks on Sunday with the Gauhati University Teachers’ Association and with senior officials to resolve the issue that may have serious implications on the academic atmosphere. According to sources, there are speculations that the contractual teachers have been engaged without a transparent recruitment process and later they have become regular teachers.
The Post-Graduate Students’ Union of GU had also came down heavily on the directive stating that this had threatened the career prospects of the students. They too were of the opinion that unless permanent teachers were recruited, contractual teachers should be allowed to continue their service.