On 28 August, the vice chancellor of Delhi University issued a circular asking constituent colleges and departments to fill faculty vacancies at the earliest. Until the permanent appointments were made, the circular said, “Colleges may appoint guest faculty, if required, against new vacancies arising first time in academic session 2019–20.” It did not clarify whether the new vacancies included those posts currently filled by ad-hoc teachers, who are hired for 120 days at a time and make up two-fifths of DU’s faculty. These teachers have long sought regularisation as permanent employees, and saw the circular as a step to hire them under the precarious designation of guest faculty. They began protesting against the circular, and on 4 December, thousands of teachers stormed the vice chancellor’s office, as part of a larger agitation to secure permanent employment. The following day, the ministry of human-resource development issued a statement amending the circular to include ad-hoc, temporary and contract faculty among those who could be appointed to fill the vacancies in the short term. It also said that ad-hoc teachers working in the current academic year could continue in their jobs until the next academic session, if permanent recruitment does not occur before then.
Rajib Ray, a professor of philosophy at Kirori Mal College, is currently serving his second term as president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association. He is also the president of the Federation of Central University Teachers’ Associations. In an interview with Sreerag PS, an independent journalist, Ray spoke about the movement his organisation is leading for the absorption of ad-hoc teachers in the university faculty.