The 7th UGC ROP/Regulations must be Empowering to Address Disparities
N. Somorendro *
Union government already implemented the 7th Pay Revision of union civil service. After 66 years of Sovereign Democratic Republic since 1950 priority to civil service than the service of universities and colleges teachers is not a progressive policy. It is because the teachers produce educated and good citizens including the civil servants, explain objectively the various phenomena, create innovation and knowledge and contribute to social change and economic development.
The teaching profession is leased preferred in India. Due to the colonial past India is one of the few democratic countries in the world to provide constitutional protection and priority to civil service. There is need to review the colonial legacies and approaches including to education in new India.
India is a diverse country with great disparities in the infrastructure and academic standards as well as different social environments. Hence it is a difficult task to formulate a uniform national higher education policy. However this significant national activity can transform higher education and research. Attracting the talented educated youth into teaching profession and research should be one of the objectives.
Higher Education and research are key to progress, knowledge economy, development, national unity and in making India a major global power. India is lagging behind and should catch up with the best in the world. The Constitutional mandate is that Union government decides and coordinates the standards in higher education in India. The 7th UGC ROP is one such activity by the Union government. It is done after reviewing the performance of the previous 6th UGC ROP/Regulations.
Failures of the 6th UGC ROP
In the implementation of the 6th UGC ROP/Regulations, many states failed to recruit regular Principals and Professors in the colleges; long delays in the promotion of the teachers under CAS and wide variation in the payment of arrears. Many state governments used discretion and caused distortion in the implementation of the same policy. It is a national failure with no accountability. Realizing the failures UGC made four major amendments even upto 2016. Hence the 7th UGC ROP should ensure no repetition of the distortion and delays of 6th UGC ROP particularly in the colleges.
In addition to above failures some states did not avail 80% reimbursement from the Union Government from 1-1-2006 to 31-03-2010, granted arrears less than the other employees of the state governments. In some states government college teachers are still denied complete salary by exclusion of the allowances of SCA and TA.
The reason: Academic Grade Pay (AGP) shall not be equated with Grade Pay for whatsoever any purpose as mentioned in the state government Orders. The university and college teachers are provided AGP under 6th UGC ROP. The irony is that the school teachers with AGP not Grade Pay have been granted the allowances of SCA and TA in such states. Such unfortunate realities exist in the higher education system in the 21st century India.
Moving Forward to the 7th UGC ROP
The coming 7th UGC ROP/Regulations must recognize the dignity, justice and responsibility of the teaching community and profession in new India. Ensuring uniformity in the pay-scales, payment of arrears, qualifications and career advancement scheme within a time frame to the teachers all over India will be one step.
No room for manipulation and discretionary power to the state governments as it did in the 6th UGC ROP. 100% financial assistance or any other provisions shall be included to ensure that all the states including border states of North East India fully implement the 7th UGC ROP/Regulations. The failure to implement the 6th UGC ROP/Regulations, 2010 by the state governments is also a national failure.
The controversial Academic Performance Indicators (API) may be modified to recognize and count scores of all the three Categories: I, II and III both in the recruitment and CAS promotion. It is essential to give equal importance and adopt a balance approach to teaching-learning; students related activities, mentorship, professional development and research. API score of 400 points: Category I- 80, Category II-100 and Category III- 220 in the recruitment of Principals shall be adopted. The Principals should have not only academic excellence and leadership but very good in teaching, extra-curricular activities and mentorship of the students and administration.
The evidence of research guidance as the essential qualification shall be made desirable for the posts of Principals. Guideship is not granted to the eligible undergraduate college teachers in many states. Without regular Principals improvement in collegiate education subsequently higher education will be almost impossible. Appointment of regular Principals will provide positive environment and healthy competition among the teachers ultimately benefiting the students.
Many states failed to appoint regular Principals under 6th UGC ROP and those who recruited Principals deviated from the prescribed regulations. The previous pension system and GPF as Associate Professor/Professor shall continue during and after the end of the tenure of the Principals. All the eligible Associate Professors/Professors who have 5 years for retirement shall be allowed to apply for the posts of Principals.
Professorship shall be allowed to all the eligible and qualified Associate Professors in a Department of the under-graduate colleges. Restricting to 10% only of Professorship in a Department is unfair and it restricts quality education and research. Associate Professors in the Colleges have service of about 15/20 years but without opportunities for updating knowledge and no career advancement scheme.
Associate Professors shall be granted two advance increments every 5 years subject to the participation of a Refresher Course/Winter or Summer School etc, attending a minimum of two Seminars/Conferences etc and a consolidated API Score of 200 from all the three Categories: I, II and III. This will bring a positive change in the mindset and activities of Associate Professors who outnumber the Assistant Professors in the colleges.
CAS Promotion shall be ensured strictly on time without undue delays. The Selection Committee in the recruitment and promotion of Principals/teachers shall ensure the academicians and subject experts in addition to the members of State Public Service Commission/Teacher Recruitment Board. There are instances where bureaucrats dominate in the selection committee of the teachers in some states. Orientation /Training at the entry level upto three months related to teaching profession, role of teachers in the society, communication skills, social issues, latest developments in the various fields of knowledge at the UGC –HRDC of the Universities shall be introduced.
The provision of collaboration and exchange programme in teaching, research and invited talks within India and abroad shall be introduced. This will improve teaching, research and better understanding and promote national unity. The provision of encouraging funding and financial assistance for research to the colleges from UGC, the industries etc by providing proper and transparent rules are necessary. Research is essential under UGC Regulations. But the eligible under-graduate college teachers are often not granted guideship and students on the grounds of the lack of research facilities.
Effective Performance by the Teachers
In order to ensure that the teachers perform their role as defined in the Code of Ethics in the UGC Regulations, 2010, academic freedom shall be identified and guaranteed. This will facilitate university and college teachers the freedom to share or publish his/her research findings and knowledge for the benefit of the students, general public and policy makers.
Study leaves for undergoing research leading to post-doctoral degree, Ph.D., M.Phil etc and sabbatical leave to the college and university teachers shall be ensured for quality in teaching and research. Encouragement and support to innovative teaching and learning including ICT by providing training, necessary teaching aids, instruments etc shall be included.
Some special allowances are necessary which will contribute to the effective performance by the teachers both in academic and as the agents of social change and national unity. Leave Travel Concession, Children Education Allowances, Special Compensatory Allowances in Remote/Hill Areas and Academic Allowances for internet, books, journals etc to the college and university teachers shall be provided. The teachers can bring better understanding of the vast nation, update knowledge and share them to the students. No LTC into the college teachers in many states while higher civil services enjoy these facilities.
The new 7th UGC Pay revision /regulations shall be implementable by all the concerned; not just central universities and rich/few states. It shall not be reduced to another ten yearly ritual. It must have a progressive vision relevant for a new India and is capable of competing with the best in the world. At the same time it must address the hard realities in the diverse India by empowering the state governments and teachers. There shall be no room for any distortion and delays as happened under the 6th UGC ROP.
* N. Somorendro wrote this article for e-pao.net
The author is the General Secretary, Federation of Government College Teachers’ Associations, Manipur (FEGOCTA) and can be contacted at somons(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on April 17, 2017.
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