Dispute over Kerala Department of Finance ordinance that eliminates salary protection for college teachers

A Department of Finance order that purportedly eliminates salary protection and promotion opportunities for teachers recruited to college-assisted or government university teaching departments and those appointed to college-assisted government colleges through the Kerala Public Service Commission gave rise to a dispute.

According to sources, the government has also asked these teachers to repay to the national treasury the additional amount they have made available so far. The order was issued by Additional Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh on November 9. It concerns teachers whose salaries are regulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). This applies to subsidized or government college teachers who are appointed to university teaching departments, and subsidized college teachers who obtain public college jobs after passing tests and interviews.

The decree specifies that various regulations of the UGC and the AICTE mention the examination of the former service for “placement with a view to career development”, under conditions. They do not, however, mention the protection of the existing salary if a person who has occupied a post obtains another job through a different recruitment procedure. The order says that if anyone received a salary this way, it will be cancelled.

P. Rasheed Ahammed, a member of the University of Calicut union, said the ordinance would affect teachers who may be appointed principals of other colleges through interviews. He said that instead of increasing pay for teachers who excel in their field, the order to claw back existing benefits would lead to a drop in the quality of education. He urged the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calicut, MK Jayaraj, not to implement the order. The union could also pass a resolution against it, he added.

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