Colonial and even post Independence authorities of Higher Education in India and Tamilnadu paid scant respect to emoluments and service conditions of Teachers. To deliberate and to solve these problems the Arts and Sciences and Educational Training Government Colleges at Pudukkottai in Tamilnadu took the lead and established Tamilnadu Government Collegiate Teachers’ Association in 1971 which is now a registered and Government recognised Association called TNGCTA since 1980.
In it evolution TNGCTA had crossed three phases, namely, Individual Action, (1971-78) collective Action, (1978-1985) and expansion of Collective Action (since 1985). In the first phase the TNGCTA activities were restricted to removing the procedural bottlenecks in Educational Administration of Government Colleges in Tamilnadu. In the second phase the TNGCTA agitated along with other similar Teachers organizations like AUT and MUTA in Tamilnadu against the Government for securing the University Grants Commission (UGC) Scales of pay to all the college and University teachers of Tamilnadu. In the third phase, the TNGCTA started co-ordinating with School teachers also to ensure better status for the teaching community in Tamilnadu.
The goal of TNGCTA is not just pay, service conditions and welfare of Teachers alone. TNGCTA generally worked for (i) uniting the Teachers of Government colleges to gain respectable social identity; (ii) to highlight the positive role they play in the education of rural, downtrodden and poor families; (iii) to help the students from marginalized communities even in urban areas and (iv) to provide the link between the government and parents. TNGCTA does not believe in violence but it has led mass agitations sometimes with the help of mass media.
TNGCTA has a three tier structure, A Government college teacher can become a member of TNGCTA by paying an annual subscription of Rs 5/- (now increased to Rs.500/-) TNGCTA functions at the grass roots level in each college. (units). At the middle level TNGCTA has adopted a zonal system (8 zones). At the Apex Headquarters level the TNGCTA has the organisational structure of One President, One Vice-President, One General Secretary, One Joint Secretary and a Treasurer, who are all elected by the General Council (All members of TNGCTA in each of the units). TNGCTA has the Headquarters office at Triplicane in Chennai.
TNGCTA has succeeded in improving the pay, job security, working conditions, structural adjustments and functional initiatives of teachers. It has generally brought a developmental role in the formal Higher Educational System, Distance Mode of Education, Research ambience, Funded Research, Extension and counselling activities and in making the communities aware of the need for expansion of Higher Education in Tamilnadu.