Thursday, May 10, 2012

Maharashtra teachers stir likely to end.

State gives college teachers Friday ultimatum, agrees to some demands.

he state on Wednesday accepted some key demands of degree college teachers who have been on strike, refusing to assess examination papers, and expected them to resume work from Friday, failing which action will be initiated against them.

Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (MFUCTO) has not yet called off its strike and will be meeting in Jalgaon on Thursday to take the final call. After the final round of talks between the government and members of MFUCTO and discussion with CM Prithviraj Chavan, minister of higher and technical education Rajesh Tope said the government accepted three major demands.
The government has agreed to pay the arrears (as per the Sixth Pay Commission) amounting to Rs 431 crore in two phases — in July 2012 and April 2013. It has agreed to regularise teachers — appointed between 1991 and 2000 and affected by National Eligibility Test (NET) or State-Level Eligibility Test (SLET) — from the date of their appointment as per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines and continue seeking funds from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to pay the difference between fifth and sixth pay commission scales. Tope said vice-chancellors of universities have assured him that if the striking teachers resume work by Friday, results could be declared by June 10. He added that if the teachers failed to resume work by then, the university concerned would issue notices to the institutes.
Tope said 50 per cent paper assessment work at Mumbai and Aurangabad universities had been completed while Solapur, Amravati, Jalgaon and Pune universities had completed 15-25 per cent of work.
“We are yet to assess what the government has accepted. MFUCTO, in its meeting on Thursday, will take a decision,” said an MFUCTO spokesperson.
Asked for the number of teachers who are on strike for the last one month, Tope said the universities have not yet provided the figures. Meanwhile, Mumbai University issued letters to colleges affiliated with it to provide details of teachers who are on strike.
Meanwhile, experienced and retired teachers who are qualified have been allowed to assess examination papers.
What the teachers want
NET/SET teachers must be regularized: This battle goes back to the late '90s when theUniversity Grants Commission made it mandatory for candidates wanting to become teachers to take the NET/SET. But the Maharashtra government decided to implement the rule retrospectively and several MPhil-qualified teachers who were appointed between September 1991 and April 2000 were affected. Regularizing these teachers and paying them arrears will up the monthly salary bill by Rs17 crore.
Cash component: Arrears to be paid after implementation of the VIth Pay Commission to be released for all teachersWhile the VIth Pay Commission scales came into effect from March 2009, the state government started implementing them only on January-February 2010.
Difference of Vth and VIth Pay Commissions, Rs 1,550 crore, that was to come from Central government must be borne by state government. Higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope said the CM has promised to take up the matter with Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal.
State to refer private varsity bill to AG: The state government has decided to refer the Private Universities Bill to state advocate-general Darius Khambata and seek his opinion on whether it is constitutional to include reservation for backward category of students.
The state has decided not to set aside any caste-based quota but sources said the governor sent the draft bill back and told the government to consider a quota for disadvantaged candidates. The state has set up a committee headed by educationist Kumud Bansal and told it to pore over reports of nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, Ram Takwale and Arun Nigavekar and draw up a road-map for implementation.
"The committee will submit its report in a month," said higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope. But rolling out the reforms will require funds and the state government may float a corporation to raise funds, take a loan, or allow universities to come up with fund-raising schemes.
(With inputs from Times of India/ Indian Express)

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