“I have given prime years of my life to the university and now I am living in the constant fear of losing my job,” says a Delhi University teacher, summing up the plight of hundreds of English teachers who are fearing job loss due to the implementation of Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF) from the 2022-23 academic session.
The Delhi University's Executive Council in February approved UGCF-2022 formulated in accordance with the National Education Policy.
Several teachers opposed the proposed structure of the UGCF, saying that the Ability Enhancement Courses (AEC) are offered only in the languages included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution and that does not include English. They also said the UGCF singles out the English department in particular for a massive reduction, almost in the range of 30 to 40 per cent, of its existing workload.
"I have been teaching in the Department of English at a DU college since 2010 on an ad hoc basis. Since it is a science college, our workload is mainly dependent on the AEC paper," said the English teacher who did not wish to be named.
"After having worked sincerely for 12 years, I am now living under the constant threat of losing my job. What will be done for people like me who have given their prime years to the University in the hope of being permanent one day?" the teacher added.
Around 100 teachers are "slated" to lose their jobs following the removal of English as an AEC under the UGCF, claims another teacher.
As the university is set to reopen soon, teachers have argued that there is a clear indication that the workload of the English department across colleges will get reduced by at least one-third.
Rudrashish Chakraborty, professor at Kirori Mal College, said: "In my college, there is a loss of 60 lectures in the next semester; in Hansraj College, it is 50, in Ramjas, it's almost 60+, and so is the story in colleges across the university."
The situation will be worse for teachers working in colleges which do not offer English (hons) or BA progamme like Keshav Mahavidyalaya, GGS College of Commerce, Institute of Home Economics (IHE), Lady Irwin College, Bhaskaracharya, and Rajguru College of Applied Sciences, believes Chakraborty.
"Their entire workload used to be primarily of AEC which is gone now: rendering the permanent teachers almost redundant, forget the ad hoc ones. This assault on workload has been made systematically to make sure that ad hoc teachers working in the English department lose their jobs after teaching for the last eight-nine years in the university in the hope of getting absorbed," alleged Chakraborty.
A member of DU Academic Council, Mithuraaj Dhusiya, said that the English departments across DU colleges are staring at mass level displacements of existing ad hoc and guest teachers.
"English departments across DU colleges are staring at mass level displacements of existing ad hoc and guest teachers because of the removal of English from the compulsory AEC course. We have raised this matter several times in Academic Council meetings but the university has not taken any step yet to prevent the impending displacements," Dhusiya said.
Terming the new restructuring by the DU “mindless”, Abha Dev Habib, Secretary, Democratic Teachers’ Front and former member of the DU Academic Council, said that around two to three English teachers in every college are slated to lose their jobs.
"This (UGCF) is a mindless restructuring. For the past 10 years, there has been continuous restructuring going on. The Last major restructuring was done in 2015 when UGC introduced the choice-based Credit System under which English was made an ability-enhancing compulsory module. And over the past six-seven years, hiring of the teaching was done based on that," she said.
"And now the university has introduced the UGCF structure, as per which English is no longer a compulsory module. And students have been asked to choose from 13 languages. In total, 100 teachers across the university are slated for job loss," she added.
In March this year, more than 400 English teachers of Delhi University had written to Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh, saying the workload of their department will be “massively reduced” due to the implementation of the UGCF from 2022-23 academic session and would lead to a loss of livelihoods.
Urging that the workload of their department be restored, the teachers noted that the proposed structure of the UGCF singles out the English department in particular for a massive reduction, almost in the range of 30 to 40 per cent, of its existing workload.
(With PTI inputs)