A section of teachers and students opposing Delhi University’s new four year undergraduate programme have formed a joint front and submitted a memorandum to the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Friday, asking it to intervene in the matter.
They have also claimed that their meeting with officials of the ministry of human resources has, in fact, cast doubts on the continuance and future of the new programme itself.
The front, dubbed Joint Action Front For Democratic Education, submitted a memorandum to the UGC on Friday morning asking when precisely had DU sought permission for such a programme and when did the UGC give its approval.
The front combines the interests of SC/ST/OBCs and the Left, including members such as DU professors Vijaya Venkatraman, Hany Babu and Shaswati Majhumdar.
“For such a big change, UGC’s permission must be sought, which has not been done. UGC has failed to perform its duty. They should have initiated a national debate if a policy change was required,” said convenor of the front and Dalit leader Udit Raj. Members of the front also said they had met the HRD minister and claimed that the ministry is in two minds about the programme.
“The ministry did not know the implications of the programme. The vice chancellor of Delhi University succeeded in bluffing them. But now our viewpoints are reaching them and they are in two mind. This is demonstrated by the PM’s recent concerns over the programme,” Raj said.
Terming the university’s new program as “elite”, some DU teachers who are part of the front said it would discourage education among SC/ST and OBC students.
“Under the new programme, these students will be forced to do honours level courses which will be too difficult for them and will result in high dropouts,” said Hany Babu, professor of English, DU. Compulsory English and increased fees will also be a burden for such students, they said.
“We will mobilize forces inside as well as outside the campus to see that this move is not implemented,” said Raj.