Guest post by FATMA M. KHAN
After three years at the Delhi University, I have been disillusioned with a lot of things. But one thing which never ceases to surprise me is the tireless effort put in by a lot of you to create something better. It is often against the system, against the apathy of the students, against the examinations which reduce texts to regressive questions. This is for you.
This is for the teachers who hated the FYUP programme, but still tried hard to create meaningful project topics for the foundational courses out of the juvenile textbooks we had, not caring about the extra correction this created for themselves. This is for the teachers who went out of their way to conduct thought-provoking discussions on “Integrating Mind, Body and Heart”, a course which had no marking.
This is for the teachers who fixed up one or even two extra classes from the first week of the semester so we could go deep enough into the study material. This is for the teachers who increased their working hours, for no reason other than that they did not want to rush through texts, but allow students to critically engage with them, and have time for debates and discussions.
This is for the young, intelligent and extremely passionate teachers I have met who are still being thrown about as ad-hocs, as they struggle to remain teachers. This is for the teachers who knew they wouldn’t be teaching at a college for more than a semester or two, but still tried to form strong relationships with the students.
This is for the highly qualified teachers who have offers from private universities but choose to continue as ad-hocs in DU because they believe they can benefit students more at a public university. This is for the teacher who, when I asked how her interview to become a permanent teacher went, told me, “When you are older, you will realise it is completely irrelevant how the interview goes.”
This is for the teachers who struggle and fight against the system to give us an education- to turn us into people who have the ability think critically and form our own opinions. This is to tell you that your struggles have not been in vain. You have made a difference in my life, as in the lives of countless other students.
As you protest against the UGC Notification, which would make quality education impossible, I have this to say: I am with you, and so are other students like me. We support your struggle and your protest. We know this is as much for the sakes of the students. Keep fighting, until you receive written proof of the rollback. It is not the brand name, not the history but you teachers who make DU a university worth getting into.
Nelson Mandela has said, “Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world”. There are forces who would like nothing better than to blunt this tool, but we will not let it happen. Let us stand united in our quest for real education, which sees through the surface to the heart of the matter, which critically engages with the world, which has a social conscience, and which changes lives everyday.
With love and gratitude,