“What we do during our working hours determines what we have.
What we do in our leisure hours determines what we are”
– George Eastman
Dear members and well-wishers of Amuct
ll be my last dispatch as president of this well-known teachers association. It has been a great honour to serve as the President of AMUCT for the last four years. Though I reluctantly accepted the responsibility, the two terms of office have gone by very quickly. I have appreciated the opportunity to get to know, work with and learn from the wonderful members of our association. It has helped me improve my patience, time management, negotiation and organisational skills. It has allowed me to work with others and feel a part of our very rewarding efforts and achievements. I recall with pride what we accomplished at the XXVII Statutory Conference of AIFUCTO along with a National Conference on Higher Education and annual academic conventions. It has fostered team spirit and an honourable mention of AMUCT at the national arena . Personally, it also gave me an excellent opportunity to grow as a known leader both at the State and National level. It is my humble feeling that during my term I have been able to make a positive impact on both the day –to day activities and also on the reputation of the association. My journey in leading the Association wasn't done alone. I was accompanied by a team of dynamic individuals, who shared in our success and learned from our failures. I would like to place on record my deepest sense of appreciation and gratitude the help, guidance, support and appreciation of each and every one of them during my tenure.
The path we tread these last four years was rough. The struggles were varied. Challenges were ever emerging. The membership was fast dwindling due to superannuation. Work pressures have been increasing due to semester and autonomy. Yet without compromising my regular academic, research, administrative and extension activities at the college, earnest efforts have been made to represent and find a solution to every problem represented to us with conviction and commitment without any considerations. While we succeeded in many of our efforts, a few individual cases failed at the last lap. Our satisfaction is that we made our sincere efforts and did our best. As there is light at the end of the tunnel, the good news is that many of our long carried struggles have started yielding fruits. The most important is regularity in the credit of our monthly salary, filling up of vacancies, release of pending arrears, enhancement of HRA, sorting out issues related to promotion, Ph.D. increments, enhancement of examination remuneration, appointment of principal post, extension of Ph. D. guideship to UG college teachers, the list goes on. Though much has been achieved more remains to be accomplished. I hope that the new team of office bearers will do their bit to find solutions to these issues.
I take this opportunity to place on record my heartfelt appreciation to Mr J.R Lobo, MLA , Mangaluru Soth Constituency, Capt Ganesh Karnik, MLC, Mr Ivan D’Souza, MLC, Prof K Byrappa hon’ble Vice-chancellor of Mangalore University and Late Prof Shivashankarmurthy, the former Vice Chancellor, Dr A. M Khan, Dr P.S. Yedapadithya and Dr B. Narayana, the present and former Registrars (Evaluation), the present and former Registrar ( Administration), Finance Officers of Mangalore University, The Commissioner, Director and Regional Joint Directors of Department of Collegiate Education for their cordial and encouraging support during my tenure. My sincerest thanks to Prof Asok Barman and Prof Arun Kumar, the Former and present General Secretary of AIFUCTO and all other office bearers for relentlessly fighting for the cause of teachers and higher education. Special thanks to the President and the Office Bearers of FUCTAK for taking up the issues of Amuct at DCE Office, Bengaluru. My sincere thanks to my Principal Rev Fr Swebert D’Silva SJ for extending his all-round support particularly in providing all kinds of logistic support to organise Amuct’s activities during my tenure at St Aloysius college freely. I would be remiss if I did not recognise the services of the staff of JD’s Office Mangaluru.
As I lay down my office, the only thing that bothers me is the emergence and spread of the culture of speed and superficiality which is often expressed in our relations, responses, approaches, methodologies and goals. Priorities are shifted from joint academic wisdom to individual profiteering, from collective struggles and analysis to quick fix solution activities, from we / us to them / they. It is true that attractions towards this culture of superficiality make our daily life easy and comfortable. But the larger question is as enlightened section of the society what are our responses to the ever emerging issues and challenges in the field of higher education– which is still not accessible to majority of the youth of our nation. Is our education promoting social harmony and human dignity? In the name of quality education and accreditation of institution, have we forgotten to inculcate the basic human values? How long can we, as a teacher community, remain mute spectators of to adhochism in every aspect of higher education? Let us remember that the greatest harm to the society is done not by the actions of the antisocial or sinister elements but by the inaction of the good, nice, decent and well- mannered persons.
Why are we reluctant to evaluate ourselves and our work and identify shortcomings that could challenge us? Why are we hesitant to give our feedback to policy matters? What happened to the hunger for depth in understanding the issues and challenges in the prevailing context? Why are we feeling insecure to raise our issues, voice our concerns and fight for our rights? It appears as if we are on the path to face the same fate as Martin Niem"ller, German theologian who while incarcerated, by Hitler wrote a poem that has inspired me throughout since I first read it:
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for me
and THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK OUT FOR ME.
Let us all strengthen AMUCT to strengthen ourselves. The constant struggle by AMUCT, FUCTAK and AIFUCTO has given us – the college teachers- a place of recognition and comfortable living. All this was possible because of the sacrifices made by relentless struggles. It is now our duty to continue the same and lead by example as Frederick Douglass says “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” I wish all the very best to the new team of Office bearers. I call upon each member to pledge your continued support to Amuct and help our Association leaders continue our journey to deliver the success our Association deserves.
Long Live AMUCT. Long Live Teachers’ Movement.
Dr Norbert Lobo
President, AMUCT & Vice President, AIFUCTO