St Stephen’s College to again ask Delhi University for autonomy
Despite opposition from teachers and students the governing body of St Stephen’s College has decided to apply for autonomy under the revised clauses of UGC. Other colleges like SRCC and Hindu College may also apply for autonomy.delhi Updated: Feb 26, 2017 07:36 IST
The governing body of St Stephen’s College’s has decided in principle to apply for autonomy, despite the disagreement by teacher representatives at the meeting on Saturday. As the governing body met on Saturday, students and members of Teachers’ Association (DUTA) also protested outside the venue against the proposal.
St Stephen’s, along with a few other Delhi University (DU) colleges, is applying for autonomy as per the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Among other colleges that may apply are Shri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC), Hindu College, Sri Venkateswara College and Hansraj College.
Autonomy implies that it will no longer be a DU constituent college and will be free to take its own decisions in framing syllabus, fee structure, starting new college branches and will enjoy other academic freedoms. In November 2016, UGC has notified DU and its affiliated colleges that provision for autonomy had been incorporated in the new guidelines. Representatives of willing colleges were asked to apply for it. Though such demands have been raised in the past too, this time the university has formed a committee to look into it.
Four teacher representatives registered their dissent at the meeting, but the governing body decided in principal to go forward with application for autonomy. “They said that university had sent a proposal but in the meeting they showed us no letter. They just put forward a UGC guideline. They, however, assured that before sending the application to the university they will hold consultation with teachers and students,” said Nandita Narain, Maths teacher at the college and a member of governing body.
However, she said that their questions about opposition to autonomy were not answered by the authorities.
Holding posters of “Discussion not decision” and “We want consensus”, students sat in the college corridors and protested against the move. Around 500 students have signed a petition saying that they will oppose the move.
“We do not know what is autonomy all about and the college is moving forward with it. It is a big decision which will change the character of the college so they cannot just do without consultation with stakeholders,” said a third year student of the college.
DUTA also staged a protest outside the college and said this is a move by the government towards privatisation. The National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF), a Right Wing teachers’ body is also opposing the move to grant autonomy to colleges.
“We want academic and governance autonomy for the university but not autonomy to the constituent colleges. We will not let anything happen without consensus and oppose the move,” said AK Bhagi, president of NDTF and executive council member.