The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked the vice-chancellors and principals of all institutions affiliated to it to ask their staff and students to tweet their “gratitude towards their favourite teachers” using the hashtag #ourteachersourheroes to mark Teachers’ Day on Saturday.
While the hashtag is one of the top trends on Twitter, with tweets from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top ministers, some teachers protested at the dissonance between the online campaign and the objective reality for them across the country.
“There are more than 10 lakh school teacher posts lying vacant across the country. There have been no appointments for thousands of college teacher posts as well. Teachers are being hired on contract basis. When the education system itself is being destroyed, what will we do with a hashtag?” asked Abha Dev Habib, treasurer of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA).
Thousands of private school and college teachers have also lost their jobs or foregone salaries as institutions shut down due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The UGC letter, signed by secretary Rajnish Jain, juxtaposes the occasion with the government’s recent decision to implement the National Education Policy (NEP), which has provisions to overhaul the current curriculum and administration of all educational institutions in the country.
One of the most controversial provisions in the NEP is that a Board of Governors (BoG) will be set up to govern higher educational institutions, which can “make all appointments including that of head of the institution, and take all decisions regarding governance”.
While the policy document says this BoG will be a” group of highly qualified, competent, and dedicated individuals having proven capabilities and a strong sense of commitment to the institution”, it doesn’t clearly explain how they will be chosen or who will monitor their...