Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar
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
Remember the FYUP debacle? Remember (as repeatedly written about on Kafila as elsewhere) that it was the latest in a long series of badly-conceived, mindlessly-borrowed and forcibly-implemented ‘educational reforms’ that practically crippled universities around the country? And remember a certain Rev. Valson Thampu, authoritarian, controversy-soaked Principal of St. Stephens College and eager soldier for the reforms? Well Thampu, now-retired, has thrown his weight against demonetisation these days in a set of articles on The Daily O. Now the thing is, almost everything Thampu finds objectionable about monetary reform, can be said about educational reform.
No, literally, every single thing.
So I simply took his post and replaced some key words, to produce a post about education. I know, I know, it’s not nice to do this, especially when you know, he speaketh the truth on demonetisation and all. But it is too wonderful an opportunity to pass up, to not use Thampu’s own eloquent words to say, yet again, what he has steadfastly refused to listen to in the past. Besides, as I say above, this is the laziest blog post I have ever had to write – that’s always an incentive.
His article in the original can be read here.
POLITICS HIGHER EDUCATION | 5-minute 7-minute read | 22-12-2016 23-12-2006 VALSON THAMPU SUNALINI KUMAR
Continue reading The Laziest Blog Post Ever Written – Educational reform and Demonetization
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. Continue reading An Open Letter to the DU Teachers from a DU Student – I Stand with You: Fatma M. Khan
अपना कार्यभार बढ़ाने के खिलाफ शिक्षक आन्दोलन कर रहे हैं . बहुत दिनों के बाद शिक्षकों में इस तरह की एकजुटता और उत्तेजना देखी जा रही है. दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय शिक्षक संघ को पिछले दिनों अक्सर ऐसे सवालों पर भी, जो शिक्षकों के हित से सीधे जुड़े थे, आन्दोलन में संख्या की कमी से निराशा होती रही थी. इस बार शिक्षक पूरी तादाद में सड़क पर हैं. संघ की सभाओं में हाल खचाखच भरे हुए होते हैं. क्षोभजन्य उत्साह से आन्दोलन में नई ऊर्जा दीख रही है.
अपने पेशे के अवमूल्यन से शिक्षक आहत और क्रुद्ध हैं. काम के घंटे बढ़ाने के निर्णय ने अध्यापक के काम की विलक्षणता को ख़त्म कर दिया है, यह अहसास उनमें है. अलावा इसके, एक शिक्षक का काम बढ़ जाने के बाद यह कहा जा सकेगा कि अब चूँकि एक शिक्षक ही दो का काम करेगा, और पदों की आवश्यकता ही नहीं है.इसका असर उन शोधार्थियों पर पड़ेगा जो अध्यापन के पेशे में आने की तयारी कर रहे हैं. इसीलिए इस बार सड़क पर वे सब दिखलाई पड़ रहे हैं, जिन्हें दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय में एड्हॉक कहा जाता है और जिससे कई जगह बंधुआ मजदूर की तरह बर्ताव किया जाता है.
साधारण जनता को शिक्षक के पेशे की खासियत के बारे में शायद ही मालूम हो! इसी कारण संभव है, वह यह सोचे कि हफ्ते में सोलह घंटे पढ़ाने की जिद पर अड़े लोग कामचोर ही तो हैं. लेकिन ऐसी समझ कुछ तब जाहिर हुई जब दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के पूर्व कुलपति प्रोफेसर दिनेश सिंह ने एक अखबार को कहा कि कार्यभार बढ़ने की शिकायत फिजूल है, शिक्षक चाहें तो रात में शोध का काम कर सकते हैं.उन्होंने अपना उदाहरण दिया कि वे भी रात को ही शोध का काम करते रहे हैं! Continue reading शिक्षक: पेशेवर पहचान का संघर्ष
Guest post by SAROJ GIRI, continuing the discussion on roll-back of FYUP in Delhi University.
Earlier posts on this issue are listed and linked to here.
Here is one way to make sense of the core issue at stake in Delhi University today – this piece by Nandini Sundar arguing that the UGC directive amounts to hampering institutional autonomy of DU.
But this is a flawed position in the present context. It conflates the autonomy of DU with the autonomy of the VC. It construes DU’s autonomy in narrow institutional terms, overlooking the larger movement of teachers and students which is also ‘DU’ and which has consistently opposed the FYUP.
Sundar suggests withdrawal of the UGC directive, the setting up of a DU committee to overhaul the programme, and deliberation in the Academic Council, this time taking proper heed of anti-FYUP views. But do we need a fresh round of discussion on the pros and cons of FYUP?
Absolutely not. For there have been tons of deliberations over the FYUP. Just go back to the minutes and records of the many different meetings and Committees, or recall the many demos and dharnas. There is ample evidence of deliberation where the members of the University have given sound reasons why the FYUP is bad.
Indeed, the picture presented that it is the Ministry or the UGC imposing its diktat from above is simply not true. It is not some committee in the UGC or Ministry which on their own have decided to stall the FYUP. For it is force of the movement against FYUP and the many, many voices active since the last few years who have prevailed now – it is this which is reflected in the UGC directive. Continue reading Collective struggle strengthens autonomy: Saroj Giri
It seems the unthinkable has happened – the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University has resigned over the UGC’s pressure to withdraw the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP). I won’t go into the debate on the FYUP, which has been covered extensively on Kafila and elsewhere . See particularly this post by Professors at the University. I am only interested in two issues that arise from the news coverage of the event as it has unfolded through the day.
One, the question of autonomy. Prima facie, as Apoorvanand and Satish Deshpande have argued comprehensively on Kafila, the resignation of a VC over pressure from the UGC seems to be evidence of bureaucratic or ministerial over-reach. Questions have been raised (rightly) over the timing of this pressure, coming as it does on the heels of a political shift of colossal proportions at the national level. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (I find myself in agreement with Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari’s language on this) to figure out that the change in Delhi University has political backing. For one, rollback of the FYUP was on the BJP’s agenda/manifesto – that is as political as it gets! Second, it was this very UGC that had been so coy about commenting on the FYUP for the past one and a half years, a coyness that amounted to tacit support. Only very recently had it moved its mammoth bureaucratic feet on the matter, constituting a committee to look into complaints from students and teachers that had finally reached its mammoth bureaucratic ears. The VC, being well acquainted with elephants, would be able to explain the mammoth temporality of this apex organisation better than any of us, having benefited from it for a goodly amount of time. Even after the constitution of the committee, the VC continued to be lauded by the UGC for his efforts at implementation of former HRD minister Kapil Sibal and his successor Pallam Raju’s efforts at radical educational reform. The committee met at a leisurely pace, no doubt fortified by several hundred samosas and robust air-conditioning in the UGC’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg office in central Delhi, while anti-FYUP protestors enjoyed the blazing sun or freezing cold outdoors, as they had been enjoying for a year and a half.
Continue reading Autonomy for what, from whom, and for whom?
पिछला एक हफ्ता भारत के शैक्षणिक समुदाय के लिए, खासकर उनके लिए जो किसी न किसी रूप में दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय और विश्वविद्यालय अनुदान आयोग से जुड़े रहे हैं, सामूहिक शर्म का समय रहा है. यह अकल्पनीय स्थिति है कि आयोग एक सार्वजनिक नोटिस जारी करके किसी विश्वविद्यालय के पाठ्यक्रम में दाखिले की प्रक्रिया के बारे में निर्देश जारी करे. आयोग ने दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के स्नातक पाठ्यक्रम में दाखिले के सिलसिले में अभ्यर्थियों को कहा है कि वे विश्वविद्यालय द्वारा विज्ञापित चार वर्षीय स्नातक पाठ्यक्रम में प्रवेश न लें. उसने विश्वविद्यालय प्रशासन को फौरन यह पाठ्यक्रम वापस लेने और 2013 के पहले के पाठ्यक्रम को बहाल करने का आदेश दिया है. उसने विश्वविद्यालय के सभी कॉलेजों को भी सीधे चेतावनी दी है कि उसका आदेश न मानने की सूरत में उन्हें अनुदान बंद किया जा सकता है. किसी विश्वविद्यालय को नज़रअंदाज कर उसकी इकाई से उससे सीधे बात करना अंतरसांस्थानिक व्यवहार के सारे स्वीकृत कायदों का उल्लंघन है. व्यावहारिक रूप से यह दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय का अधिग्रहण है.यह भारत के विश्वविद्यालयीय शिक्षा के इतिहास में असाधारण घटना है और सांस्थानिक स्वायत्ता के संदर्भ में इसके अभिप्राय गंभीर हैं. Continue reading स्वायत्तता की फिक्र किसे है? अपूर्वानंद, सतीश देशपांडे
Harish Kumar Trivedi’s article on the proposed four-year undergraduate programme at Delhi University, “Is Delhi University Dying?” (TOI May 29th 2013), for all its rhetorical flourishes, makes in fact a single point – the need for change. He is not alone in this belief; who could possibly be against reform? Who would want to stick their necks out in these breathless times and say, “Stop, why so fast?”
Many, many right-thinking people, actually, as the absolute barrage of criticism against the FYUP has shown. From the ordinary undergraduate teacher to academic and executive councils, committees of courses, and internationally renowned scholars, writers and academics. Now, there can be two responses to the range and variety of criticism that has been expressed. One would be to engage with it, based on the reasonable assumption that so many people involved with a profession cannot be entirely wrong. The other response is of the kind Professor Trivedi makes – to make an a priori argument for “change”. I say a priori because in fact there is only one, short paragraph in the article that discusses the possible advantages of the new system. One, that the new system ends the distinction between pass and honours courses. Two, that even if students exit after two years, they will still earn a “university qualification”. Three, it allows college teachers to frame a course in the fourth year.
Continue reading Welcome the Two-Year Under Undergraduate Programme at Delhi University
Guest post by AKSHITA NAGPAL
It was only in 2012 that we got a subtle whiff of the broth brewing in the minds of the bosses of Delhi University. While this isn’t the first time that authorities have attracted opposition from everyone on the other side of the ideological fence, the repercussions of the present push for hasty implementation of the Four Year Undergraduate Programme(FYUP) might be much more damning. Refuting change is not what the displeased body of teachers and students mean to convey. The opposition is against the hasty implementation and lack of insight sharing on the workings of the new system. Keeping up with the absurd pace of implementation, procedural requisites as pivotal as UGC approval have been done away with! Continue reading Rushed Reforms in Delhi University: Akshita Nagpal
This is a guest post by SUNNY KUMAR At the current moment, Delhi University is caught in a tremendous crisis. On the one hand, the DU administration is hurriedly forcing through the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP). On the other hand, students, teachers, intellectuals and all those concerned with education are opposing it. The DU administration has declared that all students taking admission in DU will enter a four year honours degree. Within this FYUP scheme, if students wish they can leave at the end of two years with a Diploma or at the end of three with a Bachelor degree (without honours). It is only at the end of four years that they can leave with a Bachelor (Hons) degree. Teachers and academics have raised many valid objections about the way in which this tectonic shift is being imposed on DU. Here, we will not belabour many of the arguments that have been made effectively elsewhere. Instead, we will mainly address the Vice Chancellor’s two central claims – of greater employability and flexibility – being made in defence of the FYUP.
To understand the new scheme better, let us look at what will be taught under FYUP.
Will the FYUP, with the above course content and its multiple exit options truly make students more employable? Will it help them get better jobs or give them extra advantage in choosing future academic options? Let us look at some of the facts: Continue reading Promises and Perils of FYUP: An Appeal to Students and Citizens: Sunny Kumar
This is a guest post by Preeti Chauhan Now that the cat is out of the bag and the four year undergraduate programme(FYUP) is being criticized and thereby being discussed threadbare by some of the leading scholars of the country, one needs to also think of its relationship with the current state of democracy in India. The manner in which FYUP is being pushed through crushes the very idea of a university and with it the ideals and ideas of democracy.
Even if one assumes and believes that the “Academic Congress” held last year in the University gave a go ahead to change the existing three year undergraduate programme to FYUP and frame courses accordingly, then also the way the University administration has functioned goes against the very values that the University of Delhi or for that matter any university is supposed to promote. Continue reading Of Education and Democracy in India: Preeti Chauhan