SHILLONG: The North-Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association (NEHUTA) strongly supports and stands in solidarity with the Federation Of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) for lending full support to the strike call given by the All India Trade Unions for their various genuine and legitimate demands.
President, of NEHUTA Dr. XP Mao said that it endorses the demands laid down by the Trade Unions including those of minimum wages with indexation, guaranteed enhanced pension, replacing NPS with old Pension Scheme(GPF), no to disinvestment, stopping contractualisation, speedy regularisation/absorption of employees, proper implementation of Reservation Policy for SC/ST/OBC/PWD, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave and other enabling measures, concrete measures for employment generation, universal social security cover, containing price rise through universalisation of PDS and banning speculative trade in commodity market.
He said that FEDCUTA has been waging a relentless struggle against the escalating assault on Higher Education through policy measures imposed by the Central Government on the dictats of the WTO-GATS, such as Graded Autonomy, Autonomous Colleges, HEFA, Tripartite MOU, HECI Bill, MCI Bill, Institutions of Eminence Scheme that promote commercialisation and privatisation of Higher Education, and hollow out its academic content.
He said that by replacing grants by loans from private agencies, the Government is forcing public-funded universities into a self-financing model, thus placing them at the mercy of market forces.
In the last few years, the Governments has increasingly sought to reduce funding to Universities by cutting research and infrastructure grants and denying regular appointments (which are replaced by exploitative contractual appointments), promotions and pension, leading to unprecedented hardship faced by the teaching community. Academic content is sought to be diluted by taking away the autonomy of Universities to frame courses and design examination schemes.
He said that the functioning of statutory bodies is subverted by autocratic vice chancellors who display complete contempt for statutory and academic norms. Academic freedom and dissent is sought to be crushed through the imposition of CCS and ESMA, and arbitrary punitive action against teachers and students for expressing their views on public fora.
Access to marginalised sections has been further reduced by diluting the Reservation Policy through a change of roster, in which the unit of reservation is the department/subject rather than the University/college. Despite repeated assurances, the Central Government has failed to bring an Ordinance/Bill to correct the dilution and fulfill the Constitutional mandate of 15%, 7.5% and 27% reservation for SC,ST,OBC in teaching posts.
He said that further measures such as minimum marks in qualifying entrance exams and insistence on NET for Rajiv Gandhi research fellowships for SC/ST have adversely affected students from marginalised sections. Universities such as JNU have been allowed to drastically reduce the number of seats for students and violate the Reservation Policy with impunity.
The FEDCUTA, AIFUCTO, Retired Teachers Associations, School Teachers Federations, University Non-Teaching Employees Federation, All India Forum for Right to Education, All India Save Education Committee and several Students Organisations, have forged a Joint Forum for Movement on Education, called for a massive Citizens Rally on February 19 in Delhi, to highlight the crisis in public-funded education, with the slogan “Save Campus, Save Education, Save Nation”.
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