Apropos the letter written by a writer with his/her name withheld (ST Oct 03, 2011) it’s a pity that the author is unclear about the functions of an interest group. We seriously need students’ interest groups by the students, of the students and for the students (and not by the politically inclined and politically connected people in the name of the students) to fight for their cause and their rights against the corrupt authorities and their agents.
The charge that the MCTA leaders have always clamoured for better salary is ridiculous. The fight of the MCTA leaders is for their rights which they should not be deprived of by the Government. Regarding the complaint of pay disparity among the different categories of teachers, may I ask if this is a creation of the MCTA leaders? The author claims that our students go out of the state for studies as the local teachers are not capable of providing good education. But what about the teeming number of students from outside the state who come to study in Shillong? Is the tag line earned by Shillong as the eminent educational center not a contribution of the teachers and the management of Deficit colleges? If the author is serious about knowing the teachers’ performances and activities, I advise him/her to use the RTI and report back to the media. I wonder if the author knows about the Academic Performance Index issued by the UGC that the junior teachers enjoying the UGC pay scale have to fulfil in order to enjoy the benefits and get the amount of salary ( Rs 85000-90,000) that has attracted the envy of even the Director of Higher and Technical Education)?
Many ask that the teachers’ salary be measured by performance. This is right but partial. It should be made applicable to all service providers. Are the pay and perks of government officers, clerks and fourth grade employees measured and questioned like this? Has the author done a research on how productive the government officials are? Has he/she done a research on their sticking to the office timings? Is not the author aware that we have government institutions that have been utterly overstaffed and run on losses? Is he/she not aware that Meghalaya created history by requiring graduation for the post for a mere Lower Division Clerk and wastes public money worth crores of rupees for nothing? Why doesn’t anyone question this? Is he/she not aware that our legislators are under-performing but get their legal dues with out difficulty?
The author contradicts himself/herself by saying, “Kudos to all great teachers who inspire their students through their teaching, life and good example and there are many in this category.” How will the writer repay those teachers on whom praises were showered? Is the writer also aware that deficit colleges in Meghalaya have been awarded good grades by the NAAC since the early 2000s? Is the author better than the NAAC Peer Teams that visited these colleges?
College teachers’ agitation
College and University teachers all over the country have been agitating ever since the recommendations were made by the Pay Review Committee under UGC’s Sixth Pay Revision in October 2008. Over the past months and weeks, college teachers under the banner of Meghalaya College Teachers’ Association (MCTA), have also submitted their long pending demands to the State government. Some of these demands have been dealt with to some extent, now while some remain as pending demands, as these demands like implementation of UGC guidelines involve many things that the State government is yet to settle with the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and the UGC which is a central agency.
Higher education is on the concurrent list, implying sharing of powers and responsibilities between the Centre and States. Not all states have accepted the recommendations of the Pay Review Committee for the UGC Sixth Pay Revision. This has caused the grievances and demands raised by the college teachers all over the country. Many states have failed to implement the said recommendations because the financial support from MHRD has been rolled back. In our State too, the guidelines have not been fully accepted such as the one for enhancing the superannuation age to 65 years.
There is a clear indication that the MHRD and the UGC are linking the release of 80% arrears with the implementation of the above clause. The UGC aims to retain the experienced intelligentsia in the teaching profession. But this seems to have created a deadlock in different states because of the fear that it would block the employment opportunities of young teachers. Some states are still trying to negotiate to cap the retirement age at 62 instead of 65.
The Chadha Committee appointed by the UGC had recommended 100 % financial assistance for the first five years and 50 % for the next five years in the period of ten years but this did not work out as the MHRD has substantially reduced the quantum of assistance to the extent of 80% of additional expenditure involved in the implementation. The Chadha Committee had recommended uniform and simultaneous implementation of the UGC package in toto with effect from January 1, 2006 throughout the country but the MHRD seems to have diluted the principle of uniform and simultaneous implementation by allowing the states to fix a later date for the implementation of the UGC Guidelines. The Chadha Committee also recommended payment of various allowances such as Pension, Provident Fund, Gratuity etc. which are yet to be fully accepted by the states. Regarding the implementation of the UGC recommendations, the State Government had issued an order in March 2010 for the revised pay scale under Sixth Pay Revision of the UGC but had maintained status quo in respect of the superannuation age i.e 60 years. This clearly links with roll-back in UGC funding which in turn has pushed college teachers to the path of agitation. This may create uncertainties about whether the forthcoming examinations can be held unless the deadlock is resolved.
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