College contractual teachers face administrative ‘apartheid’

IRFAN RASHID

SRINAGAR:

The contractual teachers’ at college and higher secondary level have expressed dismay over facing the “hostile” environment at the hands permanent faculty.
Contractual College Teachers Association said that despite working on a meager amount of salary against permanent faculty at higher Secondary or College level, the contractual staff is “ill-treated” by their permanent counter parts.
The biggest threat to teachers’ dignity comes from the very board of education that hires them to teach. With day in and day out, contractual faculty has to come to roads to get their genuine demands fulfilled.
 “Contractual have been turned into the slaves of higher education. This is factually true beyond doubt. Contractual are disrespected as teachers, as individual human beings, and as professionals in terms of what Contractual are paid,” complains a college contractual who has been teaching from last five years.
Educators who fulfill this essential role of “contractual” are allegedly exploited, underpaid and ultimately devalued within the community. The disgruntled teachers said that long-standing “mistreatment” of contractual faculty at the institutions goes largely unseen by students, parents, alumni and the policymakers.
Once we got joining order from Amar Singh College (Nodal College) and went to join Degree College Anantnag, the principal put us on hold for 5 days saying I have not received your communiqué from AS college,” a group of contractual teachers told Rising Kashmir. “He could have easily called somebody at that very moment to confirm but such is the attitude towards Contractuals that we had to wait for 5 days.”
Contractual faculty represents some of the “best” and “bright” minds in our state’s education community. “We are committed to help students achieve their academic and professional goals, but we are no longer willing to accept our status as second-class citizens.
“It is time for leaders to end the mistreatment of these educators who work countless hours to make a difference in the lives of students,” suggests a University of Kashmir Contractual teacher.
At Women College, MA Road, the situation is even worse. One of the contractual teachers at the college, wishing not to be named, said: “It is like apartheid as the permanent faculty treats us like what blacks were treated by whites and irony is that even Principal encourages them.”
A new study finds underemployment is less detrimental to contractual job satisfaction than the perceived lack of respect from their colleagues.
The study, published in The Journal of Higher Education, found that adjuncts who involuntarily work only part time feel less satisfied in their jobs, and less respected by faculty members and administrators, than do adjuncts who deliberately seek part-time positions.
The study reads, “When the researchers used statistical analyses to examine what factors contributed to adjunct instructors’ job satisfaction, they found that perceptions of being disrespected in the workplace appeared to leave such instructors less likely to be satisfied in other areas, also their perceptions that they received less respect appeared to make them more sensitive about the adequacy of such elements of their working conditions.” It further says that “Simply focusing on fulfilling basic workplace needs, without also doing more to make part-timers feel more respect and more integrated into their departments, may not be enough to improve such instructors’ long-term workplace satisfaction.”
The contractual faculty warns about singling out few students for misbehaving as that could again turn whole class against the faculty and further erodes his respect.
Don’t single out and shame the students who are misbehaving in front of the class.  This can actually turn the entire class against you – even if the misbehaving students had been annoying everyone, the rest of the class will start to feel sympathy with and side with them if you make a scene in class,” asserts Dr Munir, a college contractual teacher.
even the government has given a new nomenclature to these Contractuals and now officially calls these contractual teachers as “academic arrangement lecturers” and “teaching assistants”. “The nomenclature ‘academic arrangement’ inherently is flawed and disrespectful.
He added: “Does it need to remind the authorities that there are University Grants Commission (UGC) norms and basic salary and work load have to be in accordance with these norms, but in case of this hapless lot these are followed more in breach than in observance.”
The contractual faculty is burdened with more class load than permanent. “Add to it the work-load we have to consume our energy for. Multiple classes per day we have to conduct against the minimal classes what permanent would conduct,” complains a college Contractual.
“As if arrival and departure registry is made only for us and no permanent cares about that. We have to be present early in the morning and leave in the end against what permanent comes at 12 and leaves at 2, nobody asks them.”
Many of the contractual employees have crossed their upper age limit for employment and government watches indifferently. “The government needs to address the genuine demands of the contractual lecturers in the earliest so that their lives and careers are saved. Their salary and other stipends have to be at par with those of permanent lecturers of colleges. Like RTs the contractual lecturers need to be given permanent employment on time-bound pattern. Security of job is a pre-condition for quality education we want our young generation excel in. Unless a teacher is ensured the dignity and better working conditions that dream remains elusive,” suggests a Contractual from Degree College Chari Sharief.
Repeated attempts to contact Minister of Education, Nayeem Akhtar did not materialize.
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