New Delhi: Fearing job loss, Teachers Associations from across the country have approached the Supreme Court over the new faculty-to-student ration mooted by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). The Supreme Court will hear the case on Friday.
The AICTE suggested a reduction in the teacher-to-student ration from 1:15 to 1:20, triggering a fear of job loss in close to two lakh teachers, who are also battling ‘check out notices’ put out by the institutions.
Earlier, the AICTE teacher-to-student ration was 1:15 for B.E/B.Tech/B.Arch, MBA, MCA and Hotel Management. In Diploma courses, the ratio was at 1:20. As per the new guidelines, the next academic year will see the ration being set at 1:20 and 1:25 respectively.
While the teachers association moved the Supreme Court, the AICTE has maintained that the new proposal was a long-standing demand of the technical institutes.
The case, which has been listed for hearing on March 9, has KM Karthick, leader of the All India Private College Employees Union, as one of the key petitioners in the case. “Due to this new ratio, lakhs of students will have to bear the burden of a staff crunch. Such a guideline has also led to colleges threatening the present teachers to work for a lesser pay or meet the fate of the ones whose services have been terminated,” he told News18.
The PIL, filed by the teachers’ association, calls for the withdrawal of the new guideline and asks for salaries from private institutes to be paid through nationalised banks. The plea further asks for yearly bank statements to be cross-verified at the time of AICTE/University inspections, to ascertain the actual employment of staff within colleges, along with ensuring whether the pay-scales are as per AICTE norms.
“This digitalised inspection technique can eliminate the ‘fake staff parade’ or ‘ghost faculty parade’ by private colleges,” reads the plea.
On January 5, 2018, the HRD minister had disclosed that introduction of Aadhaar had revealed 80,000 ‘ghost’ teachers across the country.
One of the petitioners in the case, Prof M Kumaresan, head of the Private Educational Institutions Employees association (PEIEA), told News18 that the latest college to terminate a list of teachers was the Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering and Research, Nagpur.
News18 has accessed the list of 40 terminated teachers, whose salaries range from Rs 40,000 to Rs 42,000 per month.
“Many institutes have created a checkout list. These lists shows which teachers need to be terminated. AICTE’s guideline is not mandatory but since colleges stand to benefit from the guidelines, it’s being followed,” said Kumaresan.
Teachers from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh are party to the plea and are hopeful that others from all over India would soon join the movement.
Dr Narayan Marathe, member of the Indian Society of Technical Education, too, had moved a resolution stating that such a guideline was “counter-productive to the goals set by the government of becoming at par with world class education”.
“Technological advancement cannot substitute teachers. If we see worldwide universities, it is usually 1:10 or 1:12. So what are they trying to achieve? Increase the intake instead, how can intake be kept same and on the same time, the ratio be decreased,” rued Marathe.
An online petition has also been floated, by the All India Private Colleges Employees Union, which has already gathered 13,027 signatures.