MUMBAI: More than 700 teachers of colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai and SNDT University courted arrest on Monday to protest against the state not fulfilling faculty members' demands of regularizing teachers who were exempted from taking NET/SET. They were also demonstrating their anger at the government's failure to pay them their salary arrears according to the VIth Pay Commission's recommendations.
The protesting teachers have also decided to stay away from this year's centralized assessment process till their demands were met. The scene was similar in 10 other universities in the state where thousands of teachers courted arrest and resolved to boycott evaluating answer papers, till the state complied with them.Madhu Paranjpe, Bombay University and Colleges' Teachers Union (BUCTU) general secretary, said, "No one is reporting for assessment work, they are all supporting the boycott. Apart from a handful of temporary teachers, the rest are participating in the boycott. Even college principals are supporting us."
A total of 1,100 commerce teachers are supposed to correct nearly 6 lakh answer booklets of the TYBCom exams. The TYBSc exams will also conclude in two days but teachers have decided not to get back to work unless the state acted on their appeals.
The dispute dates back to the late '90s when the University Grants Commission made it mandatory that all candidates aspiring to teach in colleges will have to take 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 by the decision.
Secondly, said Tapati Mukhopadhyay, general secretary of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisation, said the government also needed to pay the arrears of the new pay scales to all teachers, including the cash component that has been pending. "The government resolution for implementing the VIth Pay Commission's recommendations for engineering teachers has also not been passed. Even the retirement age for teachers has not been increased," said Mukhopadhyay.