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DU teachers flunk semester system

delhi Updated: May 06, 2010 00:20 IST
Ritika Chopra
Ritika Chopra
Hindustan Times

Delhi University’s (DU) semester plans have been pruned. Drastically.

From a grand announcement of implementing it across all courses at the undergraduate level to now introducing it in “phases”, a lot has changed since the Academic Council meeting (dated June 5, 2009) in which the semester proposal was passed by DU.

In all probability, the new system will be seen only in science courses. Almost all departments of social sciences — including English, History, Economics and Sociology — have shot down the proposal.

In the pitched battle between the university and the teachers, the latter obviously seem to be winning at present.

Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental tacitly acknowledges the inability to bring in semester system in all courses. “It will not be possible to have it (semester) everywhere. We’re hoping that it can be completed in the next few phases.”

The tug-of-war between the university and the teachers over the semester system has its roots in certain “logistical impracticalities.”

“Under the annual system, the university takes two months to tabulate results. How can we expect the same department to do this work twice a year in just 15 days time. The Vice Chancellor has no answer to this question,” said a professor of the Economics department.

“None of the teachers are against the semester system. But why doesn’t the VC follow the set procedures and norms in introducing it. Why is he in such a hurry?” said Rajiv Verma, a teacher at Satyawati College.

As the row turns uglier, the confrontation between the administration and the faculty is set to affect students. With teachers having held back their internal assessment marks for the final exam for all three years, DU is expecting a month’s delay in results.

The University has filed a petition against the DUTA with the HC in response to this.

Some teachers have derailed discussions’

Delhi University’s embattled Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental Pental fields teachers’ allegations about his forcing the semester system.

Teachers: The semester system is being introduced without deliberation and discussion.

Pental: We have made several attempts to discuss and deliberate but some self-appointed guardians of the university among the teachers have always disrupted such meetings.

Teachers: Courses have been restructured by bypassing all the set procedures and rules.

Pental: That has happened because some people are more interested in opposing the semester system than working constructively towards its implementation.

Teachers: After semester system, students from School of Open Learning will not be able to migrate to regular colleges.

Pental: Yes, that’s true. But students study through correspondence either because they have poor marks or because they don’t want to attend college. It’s a choice they make and should stick by it. We would have introduced some great changes for SOL too, like online lectures. But most of our energies are now devoted to convincing teachers to let us introduce semesters in regular colleges.

Teachers: The current infrastructure and student/teacher ration is not good enough to sustain semester system.

Pental: Both infrastructure facilities and student-teacher ratio are fine. In fact, they are best in comparison to most universities in the country. And now we have more posts allocated to us by the University Grants Commission. We’ll be hiring many more teachers.