Hundreds of part time teachers of Tribhuvan University who have long been asking for payments equal to that of contracted and permanent teachers have again started another round of strikes on the premises of the varsity.

The country's largest university has hired more than 2,200 part time teachers as assistant professor, which is nearly 70 per cent of total teachers in the varsity. These part time teachers have been covering most of the curriculum taught in 62 constituent colleges of TU across the country.

However, they say that the payment they receive is less than one-third of permanent teachers selected through open competition.

Teachers at the varsity are required to conduct 150 periods for a subject. However, the agitating teachers claimed that they are receiving salary equivalent to only 75 to 80 classes.

Moreover, they have protested the failure of TU to call new vacancies for the post they are currently in.

TU's regulation demands new vacancies every six months. But, the last time TU announced vacancies for the post of assistant professor was around seven years ago.

Lack of vacancies has hindered aspiring teachers who often take up part-time job with the hope that the university will call for job applications and their chances of attaining permanence will be enhanced.

President of Nepal Parttime Teachers Association Mahesh Gajurel said, "Our demand is simple, either hire us on contract-model or pay us equally for equal labour compared to teachers on contract or permanent teachers."

Hundreds of part-time teachers from all 62 constituent colleges have started gathering in the protest with more and more teachers joining each day.

"Let the university's authorities and the leaders of the government understand that we won't back down from the protest so easily this time. We will continue to obstruct classes until our demands are met," Gajurel said.

This is not the first time that part time teachers have staged similar protest. Similar, protests have been launched each year for the past couple of years.

In January 2021, the government ended a week-long protest by signing an agreement with teachers that allowed part time teachers who had completed at least one year of academic session in their respective colleges to be managed on contract basis.

Also, an agreement was reached regarding teachers' remuneration and opportunities for them to be involved in academic activities of TU.

However, after nearly one year, the government has not shown interest in acting on the agreement.

Moreover, the agitating teachers have also demanded permanency for at least 50 per cent of such teachers who have been working on full time basis at the colleges.

Likewise, they have also demanded regular vacancy announcements.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 30 2021, of The Himalayan Times.