Mangalore : After having rallied against “unfair” remuneration and “treatment” of guest lecturers at University College in the city, a guest lecturer finds himself inexplicably removed from the faculty rolls of the college.
Ishwar M. Patil, who has been a guest lecturer at the Journalism Department of the college since its inception eight years ago, says he was targeted by the college authorities for having questioned the treatment of non-permanent lecturers.
For the past four years, he says, the teachers have been asking the college to increase the remuneration for examination duty. “Though some teachers travel from Puttur, Sullia and Kundapur to invigilate examinations, the university pays teachers just Rs. 60 per day for it,” he said.
He filed an RTI with the Registrar asking to know the recommended pay for lectures and whether examination duty was mandatory. The reply shocked him.
“Though we are paid around Rs. 235 per lecture, the recommended pay was Rs. 325. Moreover, it clearly said that examination duty could not be forced on guest lecturers,” said Mr. Patil.
After the college authorities distanced themselves from their demands, on October 8, Mr. Patil rallied nearly 45 lecturers to present a memorandum to Mangalore University. Apart from asking for an increase in pay for examination duty, the lecturers also demanded their rights to the full remuneration.
With the RTI reply saying invigilation duty was not mandatory, Mr. Patil opted out of it in October. However, when the college opened for admission on December 9, he found that another guest lecturer had been hired in his place. “I hadn’t turned up for the first two days because of a raging fever. By the third day, someone else was hired. For assigning me extra duty, the college calls me repeatedly. But, for this, I wasn’t even informed,” he said.
The removal of the guest lecturer has created an atmosphere of fear among the non-permanent faculty, said guest lecturers. “What they’re saying is that either we follow their rules, or we can be replaced easily. There are posts vacant in other departments, but lecturers haven’t been hired. So, clearly, Mr. Patil is being targeted,” said Sriraj B.S., a lecturer with the Department of Tourism at the college.
For the students, too, the leaving of a popular teacher had prompted a few of them to question the principal. “We were very saddened that he was removed. The principal told us it wasn’t our concern,” said a student.
After repeated calls, University College Principal Lakshminarayana Bhat, he said: “I’m on leave. I can’t comment on this.”
Mangalore University Vice-Chancellor T.C. Shivashankara Murthy said he would look into the matter.