It is not long back when more than one thousand teachers hired on contract basis were teaching at different degree and diploma engineering colleges in the state of Gujarat but the situation is changed now. Presently, most of their time goes in deciding the future strategy to counter a recent decision by the state government, which says that the contract or ad hoc teachers should be relieved from their jobs and the candidates who have qualified the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) exam should be recruited in their place as permanent teachers. These protesting teachers are demanding that the state government should absorb them in permanent jobs like the ad hoc teachers in arts, commerce and science colleges who were earlier recruited on the contract basis only.
Currently, the state has 3,655 posts in degree and diploma engineering colleges of which 1,055 are occupied by regular teachers and 1,024 by ad hoc teachers. Rest 1,556 posts are still vacant.
Academic activities at degree and diploma colleges have suffered a lot in recent times due to this ongoing tussle between the state government and the group of contract teachers. Over 1,000 teachers hired on temporary contracts in the degree and diploma engineering colleges in Gujarat have been on strike since February 12, 2011. The teachers are demanding full-time employment in currently vacant faculty positions. They had threatened to intensify their protests during the budget session of Gujarat state assembly and thus this protest is likely to catch more flames soon.
Some educationists believe that it’s the duty of the state government to inform the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) about the required openings in different engineering colleges. Dr. Madhabhai M. Patel, Ex-Vice Chancellor, Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, Patan, very clearly points out, ”Once the state government informs the GPSC about the vacancies, it should go faster about the recruitment process.” This delay in the recruitment process is also a matter of concern to the protesting teachers as it is not providing any respite to them. They are still working as faculties at various colleges with their future still depending on the court’s decision, where the matter is sub-judice. It seems that the state government and the academic administration are also worried about the situation.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had asked various engineering and polytechnic institutes for complete online individual profile of all their current staff members. These profiles were to be submitted by February 28, 2011. It is supposed that the AICTE will decide about the fate of these institutions on the basis of these submitted profiles. If the sources are to be believed then AICTE might take the decision of closing down some of the institutes on the basis of scarcity of efficient teachers. If that happens, then it will be an undesired development on part of faculties already teaching there.
Some of these teachers are working at their respective colleges since seven or more years, where they were performing their duties considering themselves as permanent members of the institution. Now, they are feeling difficulty in coping up with this new situation. Dr. Madhabhai says,”Its unfortunate that the government is thinking of relieving contract teachers after their service of so many years. These teachers have given their prime in serving their respective colleges. The government can take new teachers through GPSC but they should not remove the older ones.”
The director of technical education in Gujarat had issued a notification on December 31, 2010 asking all the institutes to retain ad hoc teachers till further intimation from the state education department while on the other hand, so far; around 250 teachers have been appointed for technical colleges on recommendation by GPSC. As its outcome, services of the teachers appointed on ad hoc basis are being terminated. This situation has opened a new front in the continuing clash between the contract teachers and the governing authorities.
A year and half ago, the jobs of 360 ad hoc teachers in arts, commerce and science streams were regularised and the teachers were absorbed in various grant-in-aid colleges. Taking inspiration from that decision of the state government, the temporary teachers are fighting for a permanent birth in government backed institutions. Nobody was available for comments from the Gujarat Public Service Commission.
It’s very natural for ad hoc teachers to object to the state government’s decision but even if the government wants to implement its resolution, it will have to answer some questions. Shouldn’t these degree and diploma teachers be treated at par with their arts, science and commerce counterparts? How come these teachers have suddenly become disposable after efficiently serving different institutions for so many years? Last but not the least, what will happen to the families that are totally dependent on the teaching jobs of their sole contributing member.