A section of college teachers in the State have accused the government of diluting salary norms laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Following the delay in implementing the pay revision as recommended by the seventh Central Pay Commission, which had come into effect on January 2016, teachers affiliated to various service unions have formed a United Forum of College Teachers (College Adhyapaka Aikya Sangham) to campaign for their demand.
While Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has promised that the revised salaries will be sanctioned in February with arrears merged into the provident fund (PF), lingering issues continue to worry the teaching community.
Shaju K.Y., Vice Principal, Christ College, Irinjalakuda, who is convener of the 2,060-member strong forum, said it would take months for the offices of the Deputy Directors of Collegiate Education to process the revised salary due to the absence of a uniform system for the purpose.
“Our basic pay scale has remained unchanged for the last 14 years since the implementation of the sixth UGC scheme in 2006. Other employees of the State government have benefited through three wage revisions during the period,” he said.
He criticised the government decision revising the criterion for sanctioning teaching posts through an increase in teaching hours. While it was decided that no regular post would be created for workload less than 16 hours, the collective feared the move would lead to the loss of nearly 3,600 posts within a few years.
The organisation also cried foul over the government’s move to refrain from sanctioning incentives for teachers possessing higher qualifications, including PhD. They claimed the UGC norms made assistant professors holding doctorate degrees eligible for five non-compounded advance increments at the entry level of recruitment, while those holding MPhil were entitled to two advance increments. “While Tamil Nadu and Telangana have implemented the provision, the government here has been reluctant to adhere to the norm,” a professor working in a college in Kottayam alleged.
However, Higher Education Department sources said the UGC had withdrawn the provision, probably because there were sufficient teaching job aspirants with PhDs and other high qualifications now. The incentive was originally intended to attract such candidates to the teaching posts, an official said.