MADURAI: No job security; no benefit and no money. The teaching and non-teaching employees of private colleges and teachers of self-financing courses in Government aided colleges are painting a sorry picture.
Citing that over 200 teaching and non-teaching staff working in these colleges have lost their job in the last two years and at least seven ended their lives in 2021 alone due to the sudden lay-off, the staff urged the State government to pass a Bill akin to Kerala's Self-Financing College Teaching and Non-Teaching employees (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, ratified by its Assembly recently.
Speaking to TNIE, All India Private Colleges Employees Union (AIPCEU) Coordinator K M Karthik alleged both the State and Central government departments are least bothered about the education services provided in the nation. "The Income Tax department, under the Central government, has to verify the salaries given by private schools and colleges. Plus, the State should monitor the bank accounts of private schools and colleges. State should mandate that private schools and colleges should receive the fees from students and give salary to the staff in tie up with a nationalised bank. In this way the Centre and State governments will be able to know the exact financial situation of the private educational institutions," he added.
Tamil Nadu All Government UGC Qualified Guest Lecturer Association President, V Thangaraj, said though the teaching staff in private colleges and government-aided colleges are not getting any benefits including increment, Provident Fund (PF), health insurance and the like they welcome the announcement of University Grants Commission(UGC) giving maternity leave/child care leave once in the entire duration of M.phil/PhD for up to 240 days. "In reality, the women staff are forced to work or give up their jobs during pregnancy. As per UG norms, the government needs to pay `55,000 to the teaching staff. But the guest lecturers are getting way less than this," he said.
He further said though the association submitted several representations to Chief Minister, officials of Higher Education and even to National Human Rights Commission, no action has been taken yet.
Responding to the issue, Anna University (AU) Vice Chancellor R Velraj said working in private engineering colleges is like working in private companies. "Many engineering colleges have shut down and a few courses removed as students' strength started dwindling. In this scenario, AU cannot ask the self-financing engineering colleges to provide salaries and jobs to them. Skilled teaching staff always have demand in the market. Teaching staff need to update themselves to tap into the available opportunities," he said.
Though TNIE tried to contact Principal Secretary to the Higher Education Department, D Karthikeyan, he was unavailable.