In February this year, University of Delhi officials invited chairpersons of the six best known colleges to apply for autonomy. So far, only the governing body of St Stephen’s College has reacted, authorising its principal to take up the application process. Teachers and staff associations of the university, DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) and DUCKU (Delhi University Karamchari Union), are against the move. Besides affecting the working conditions of faculty and staff, college autonomy has bearing on the academic content of undergraduate learning. It is surprising that many of the academic red flags are not even noticed in the policy. These obvious blind spots indicate that real motivations are not academic, but lie elsewhere.
The XII plan document of the UGC sets the target to make 10 percent of eligible colleges autonomous by the end of the plan period. It boldly declares, ‘(t)he only safe and better way to improve the quality of undergraduate education is to the link(sic) most of the colleges from the affiliating structure’. The claim is surprising, because world over university education is considered a good undergraduate education. A university with active research, accomplished faculty and diversity of subjects to offer is the best place for a young person to get initiated into the adventure and challenges of higher education. How taking students away from the ambit of a university becomes the way to better education requires a bit of an explanation. Continue reading Elephants in the Room – Who Gets the Autonomy in Autonomous Colleges? : Sanjay Kumar→
I have received letters from some of you, especially final year students, expressing your anxiety about the likely delay in results caused by the evaluation boycott protest of teachers, and appealing to teachers to withdraw this particular form of protest.
Let me assure you that we are equally keen to get back to evaluation and to work overtime to bring out your results at the earliest. In fact, this is not a form of protest we would have embarked on had the situation not been so devastating. You would have seen in the last three years, we observed a one-day strike only once when services of two teachers were terminated, preferring alternative forms of struggle even during the grimmest of battles such as those over theSemesterisation, FYUP, CBCS, debilitating administrative corruption, no permanent appointments, violation of Constitutional provisions of reservation, denial of promotions, a draconian Code of Conduct to suppress dissent and extreme forms of victimization. Continue reading An Open Letter to Students from DUTA→
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) General Body Meeting (GBM) held on May 28, 2016 issued an appeal ‘to all students to support our struggle’ against the University Grants Commission (UGC) Notification 2016. The resolution passed by the DUTA GBM of June 2, 2016 ‘extends thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) for its support’ and to many other students’ organisations ‘which have expressed support for the ongoing struggle’. The DUTA Executive, in keeping with the letter and spirit of the sentiments expressed by successive GBMs invited representatives of teachers and students’ unions and organisations, including the JNUSU, to extend solidarity with the ‘khaali thaali’ (empty plates) dharna (sit-in) organized by the DUTA on 6th June outside the UGC compound. A section of Delhi University (DU) teachers did their best to prevent Kanhaiya Kumar, elected President of the JNUSU, from speaking on this occasion…
In trying to deny a student even a chance to speak, they have gone against everything that teaching should mean; in seeking to throttle words, speech and ideasinstead of countering them with other words, speech and ideas they, as university teachers have struck a blow against the freedom of expression that is the lifeblood of universities. They have gone against the idea of universities as potentially life-altering sites for students, places that encourage them to ask questions and speak freely; to read, write and think critically, analytically and with academic rigour, together and independently, in the endless pursuit of understanding and truth; to debate, disagree with, and discuss everything of consequence without fear of any forms of authority or power, but with respect for universal rights, ‘in the hope of creating a future in which liberty and human freedoms might be grounded in citizenship based on substantive equality’…
Let no one imagine that this moment of contestation in our history will spell political doom for the DU teachers’ movement.It shall not. If anything, we are likely to come out of this with an even stronger resolve, holding up a brighter flame of hope to all teachers and posing a more invulnerable front to Capital and State than has been the case thus far.
PLEASE JOIN PROTEST AGAINST SHAMEFUL HARASSMENT OF DR. NANDITA NARAIN – MONDAY THE 19TH OF OCTOBER, VICEREGAL LODGE, DELHI UNIVERSITY 10.30 AM- 1.30 PM.
With apologies to Manoj Mitta’s excellent book on 2002 by the same name, it appears that yet another fact-finding commission has made a mockery of the process of law, not to mention truth and justice. Dr. Nandita Narain – yes that blood-curdling, fearsome figure in the picture above – has been accused of disrupting the work of 3 colleges in Delhi University and asked to appear before a fact finding committee appointed by the University, 10 days before the term of the current Vice Chancellor Professor Dinesh Singh ends. For those not acquainted with Dr. Narain, she is the popular President of the Delhi University Teachers Association, beloved Mathematics professor in St. Stephens’ College and a brilliant scholar in her own right. Having contested and won the recent Delhi University Teachers Association elections against the V.C’s relentless pressure tactics and a blitzkrieg of campaigning and publicity by other parties including the government-friendly National Democratic Teachers’ Front, Dr. Narain has evidently had nothing but her enormous personal integrity going for her.
I do not exaggerate. I am not being hasty. The writing is on the wall. What started as a glimmer in the eyes of the IIC-frequenting bureaucrat, the industrialist with profit-making dreams and the politician with an obscenely large government house in Lutyens’ Delhi is now a raging reality. Pick up any newspaper or magazine and check out the number of advertisements for private universities. Do a google search for the latest news reports on committees on higher education. If you have the time and patience, go through all the government documents on higher education in the past five years, almost neatly coinciding with the exit of Arjun Singh as Human Resources Minister and the entry of Kapil Sibal. Speaking of Mr. Sibal, if his cheerfully unapologetic blundering on the 2G scam is anything to go by, we should have an idea of the kind of subtle and layered approach he has in mind when he speaks of ‘reforming the education system.’