Pay Boost to Part-Timers in India

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee found favor with part-time teachers in the state-aided colleges across Bengal when the government decided to take up a proposal to enhance their pay despite a funds crunch.

“I am shocked to learn that part-time teachers in colleges are getting a paltry sum between Rs 1,000 ($22.14) and Rs 2,000 ($44.28) per month. This is humiliating. We have decided to raise their salaries at the earliest,” Bhattacharjee said in October at the 76th state conference of the West Bengal College and University Teacher’s Association.

“Those who teach in undergraduate colleges as part-time lecturers in lieu of permanent ones deserve better treatment,” asserted the chief minister at the function, which was also attended by the state higher education minister, Sataysadhan Chakraborty.

Chakraborty echoed Bhattacharjee and said part-time lecturers have for long demanded an increase in their pay. “It is really insulting for a college teacher to earn such a paltry sum, no matter whether he is a part-timer or not,” the minister said.

Officials said part-time lecturers used to get a monthly remuneration of Rs 150 ($3.32) about a decade ago. Five years ago, the part-time lecturers demanded a hike in their pay and the government bowed to their demand and raised the salaries—first to Rs 1,000 ($22.14) and then to Rs 2,000 ($44.28) per month.

Ranjit Bose, the secretary of the All Bengal Principals’ Association, said college authorities have to recruit part-time teachers on a temporary basis to fill in for full-time lecturers.

“Many colleges do not have the adequate staff strength and part-time teachers are the only solution,” Bose said.

There are nearly 10,000 part-time lecturers who teach classes on a temporary basis in the 450-odd undergraduate colleges, according to Bose.

“These teachers have formed an association to vent their grievances as they are poorly paid,” he said.
Bose, however, clarified that those who get paid on the basis of the number of classes they conduct earn more.

“Some of us are paid on a class basis. The college authorities give us Rs 75 ($1.66) per class. It is a better arrangement as the more classes we teach, the better for us,” observed a part-time lecturer at a south Calcutta college.

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