By Rohini Banerjee:
Something’s rotten in the state of this university.
I’m not just putting a spin on a Hamlet quote here, but stating a reality which has been growing more and more horrific with time. Delhi University always seemed to have treated its ad-hoc professors with dismissal and disrespect, but with a recent hashtag—#knowyouradhoc—the issue is finally receiving mainstream attention.
In UGC’s Gazette Regulations for 2016, it mandated, among other things, an increased workload for teachers, while a simultaneous 50% downsizing of the teaching workforce. This led multiple members of the DU Teacher’s Association to protest by boycotting evaluations of final semester undergraduate papers (exempting third-year students, so as to not jeopardise their postgraduate applications). However, what really sparked off the conversation about the abysmal treatment of ad-hocs, was a student’s Facebook post which maliciously targeted teachers for holding back their marks, completely failing to understand why the protest was happening in first place. A DU professor, who has been an ad hoc for a while now, then started this hashtag, aiming to raise awareness on exactly how horrifying the condition of ad-hoc professors is in DU. “I saw some students insinuating how teachers are jeopardising their careers by boycotting evaluation, a decision which was taken in desperation to precipitate a crisis against the MHRD’s draconian and arrogant gazette notification. What began as a case for the boycott, and how the students feel entitled for the results moved into a need to explain how ad-hocs are exploited in this university,” the professor says.
“This is basically being done to bring this evil, sinister policy which plays with the minds and intellects and spirits of young teachers to the forefront and call a spade a spade,” the professor added.
Here are some of the facts brought to light, that are truly shocking:
“Testing Loyality”? WHAT?
“Do You Know Adhocs Are Never Part of Workload Distribution Meetings?”
The posts have already gained a lot of momentum on social media, being shared multiple times, and with more and more ad hocs opening up about their experiences, putting their jobs at risk. Students too are coming forward in solidarity and sharing the posts. Whether or not this will actually cause the University to change its policies towards ad hoc teachers, time will tell. But till then, let’s continue to protest this ridiculousness.
Banner image for representation only: Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty
Featured image for representation only: Kaushik Roy/India Today Group/Getty