NEW DELHI: Rishikesh Sharma, who scored 89 per cent in Commerce from Delhi Public School, has heard of the excellence of Delhi University (DU) academics. He has applied for admission in Dayal Singh College. He is looking forward to becoming an entrepreneur after he graduates. But disillusionment awaits him.
Rishikesh doesn’t know it yet, but 2015-16 university data reveal that of the 1,706 sanctioned posts of professors, assistant professors and associate professors in DU, as its faculty and students fondly call it, 1,043 are lying vacant, Around 200 more will retire this year, taking the number of empty chairs in front of blackboards even higher. Seventy-eight posts of lecturers are lying vacant in Rishikesh’s college and 127 teachers are ad hoc.
The 3,60,460 applicants to undergraduate courses in DU face a future of incomplete tutorials, academic indifference and long hours of inertia in classrooms devoid of teachers.
The university—much sought-after by high scorers—has 56,000 seats at the undergraduate level. For the around 90,000 students of CBSE who have scored more than 90 per cent aggregate marks and the 14,800 who breached the 95 per cent benchmark, the teacher deficit in DU and its 79 colleges makes a mockery of their attempts to breach the stratospheric cut-off barrier and gain academic excellence.
Riya Sarin, who graduated from St. Stephen’s College last month, says, “I was fortunate enough to have a good set of teachers in my first year. But there should be more permanent teachers than ad hoc.”
Rough estimates put the required number of teachers in various colleges at undergrad level to around 4,500. The government has sanctioned 794 positions of assistant professor, of which 357, or over 50 per cent, remain unfilled. Similarly, of 648 posts of associate professor, 373 are vacant.
Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) rules say the varsity can directly hire only assistant professors. Posts of associate professor and professor are based on promotions.
University registrar Tarun Das was unavailable for comment.
The university also requires 133 more professors. “The situation looks bad for the future of students, as the ad-hoc teachers hired by the university to fill the gap are temporary. They come to college for just two hours. That is what they are paid for. They come 15 minutes late and disperse their classes 15 minutes early. Many students may be happy with just 55 minutes of class, but genuine students lose out,” said Sumit Semalty, who is doing BA from Hindu College.
“We are suffering because of academic politics. For example, our social work teacher has been sending us out on field work for six months, which is supposed to be only for be two months, because he is out protesting in the streets and throwing books, thus demoralising students. The ones that take classes are overburdened and hence cannot focus,” says Chandan Kumar, an MA student at Satyawati College, North Campus.
College teachers have been protesting against the latest University Grants Commission gazette notification that increases work hours of permanent teachers and leaves no room for ad hoc teachers. “The varsity should start the process of making temporary teachers permanent. Now the number of students is increasing but not of the staff, so ad hoc teachers are continuously shifting from one college to another, which is hurting education,” said Nandita Narain, president, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.