As college and university teachers intensified their agitation on Wednesday, the state government swung into action and drew up a detailed plan on when their demands would be met. The state also promised to bring up the matter before the cabinet within a week. Yet, the final call on whether the strike would be called off will be taken on Friday afternoon.
Early on Wednesday, the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers' Organization (MFUCTO) received a letter from the state government accepting all their demands with a timeframe in place on when they will be paid the cash component (arrears of the Sixth Pay Commission).
Rajesh Tope, minister of higher and technical education, said, "We have issued a fresh letter promising to meet their demands in a time-bound manner. Simultaneously, we have asked all the universities to take stringent measures against them if they fail to resume work soon. The decision has been taken at the chief minister's level."
The arrears of the VIth Pay Commission-a total of Rs 431 crore-will be released in a phased manner: The first instalment will be paid in June and the second in April 2013, stated the letter. The state will also bring up the issue of regularizing teachers affected by the National Eligibility Test (NET) or the State Eligibility Test (SET) in the cabinet within a week. The teachers' strikebegan in the first week of April, which in turn has affected the evaluation work of exam answer books at most state universities.
Tapati Mukhopadhyay, general secretary of MFUCTO, said, "The letter will be placed before the governing council of MFUCTO on Friday, where we will decide on our next course of action." She added that the call to intensify the strike in the University of Mumbai's jurisdiction was a success. "Almost 100% of BUCTU teachers did not report to centralized assessment process (CAP( centres across Mumbai. We personally visited some of the centres and they were mostly empty."
However, figures from the university examination house portrayed a different picture. Out of the 4,655 teachers appointed for the assessment work for various courses, around 1,656 teachers were present on Wednesday, said controller of examinations S M Suryavanshi. Attendance over the past few days has been a lot higher, hovering around 3,000 teachers who have been participating in correction work. When TOI contacted some CAP centres, officials in-charge said attendance was indeed low. "On a normal day, we have an attendance of 45 to 50 teachers; only seven reported to work today," said a principal.
Teachers' attendance was especially low for post-graduate and self-financing courses. At the Kalina campus-the largest CAP centre-around 625 teachers reported to work on Wednesday. Subhash Deo, director of examinations, said, "Assessment work was not hit. It was business as usual. We are on track and will be able to declare results in time." To date, the university has announced results of 108 exams.
'Paper correction not up to mark'
The University of Mumbai may take pride in the fact that it has managed to speed up evaluation, but faculty members are worried about the quality of correction work. In a letter to the governor, the head of statistics department has demanded that the process be started all over again once the strike is called off. Ulhas Dixit, statistics HoD, said correction work was possible only because the eligibility of assessors was "manipulated". Asking the chancellor of universities K Sankaranarayanan to intervene, Dixit said, papers of TYBSc (Computer Science) and TYBCom, among others, have been assessed by teachers who have only one year's experience. "According to Mumbai University's rule, a teacher should have more than three years of experience to be an examiner. This rule was highly diluted," the letter said. Dixit said that several teachers met the vice-chancellor over this issue.
Source : Zee News