Teachers, students launch ‘Save Delhi University’ campaign against 4-yr course

Delhi University’s ambitious experiment to introduce a four-year degree programme from July 2013 is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The transition from a three-year to a four-year programme, seen as part of Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh’s big reform push, which began with a shift to a semester system two years ago, doesn’t seem to be taking off as planned.

 Teachers, students launch ‘Save Delhi University’ campaign against 4-yr course

Image for representation only. AFP

The voices of protest against the ‘hurried’ implementation seem to be growing with teachers and students launching a ‘Save Delhi University’ campaign earlier this month.

The ‘Save DU’ campaign, directed at drawing public attention to the implications of the four-year graduation programme, has also begun a signature campaign to mobilize support for a petition addressed to the Prime Minister.

The petition reads, “The decision to hurriedly and undemocratically push through the four year undergraduate course in Delhi University from July 2013 is not only going to adversely affect the careers of lakhs of students, but would pave the way for further fee hikes, privatization and commodification and dilute the comprehensive character of education.”

Since the campaign began teachers and students have been holding protests at popular metro stations, colleges and schools.

Speaking to Firstpost, Nandita Narain, Head and Associate Professor, Mathematics, St Stephen's College, DU, said “We will continue to go to public places. We will continue with our signature campaign…we are hoping the word will spread and people will realise that the government is taking away the future of their children.”

The campaigners have also launched a dedicated ‘Save DU’ website and created a ‘Save DU’ facebook group. But not relying on social networking sites alone, campaigners are reaching out to people on the streets.

“We started with the Vishwavidyalay (University) metro station. Within two hours, we collected 750 signatures. At the Central Secretariat metro station we got many government employees to sign our petition. We got about 900 signatures there. Then at Dilli Haat, we collected about 600 signatures. We’ve been collecting from colleges too, some schools have also been approached,” said Narain.

Raising the issue of the university’s lack of preparedness in terms of new processes for admission and curriculum for the new system, Narain said, “Apart from the fact that it is being done in such a great hurry, nobody knows what is going on. Courses are not yet ready. Huge contradictions are arising, committees that have been set up have not been able to come to an agreement on how admissions, for instance, should be done. This is a very serious matter, it cannot be done in a hurry.”

The Vice-chancellor, however, has maintained that those opposing the new system represent a minority. Speaking to Mail Today, Singh said, “A large number of teachers are participating in the process of curricula development for four-year courses. Those against are few in numbers.” (Read full report here)

Contesting the Vice-Chancellor’s claim, Narain, said, “Thirty-one staff associations of different colleges have written back to the DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) which had asked for a feedback. And every single staff association has been critical of what has been introduced. This is itself tells you how teachers are responding to this.”

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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2013 11:05:19 IST