Several dozen students Monday protested in New Delhi against the Delhi University's decision to replace the existing annual examination assessment with the bi-annual semester system.
The protest coincided with the last day of availability and submission of admission forms for the academic session starting in July, and the students -- all members of the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) -- shouted slogans like "Take back semester system!" and marched in the arts faculty of the varsity's north campus.
"We want the semester system to be taken back and are mobilising students to express discontent with the proposed plan that could become effective from next year," said AIDSO secretary Prashant Kumar who graduated in Urdu from the varsity.
AIDSO, a consortium of around 600 students from Jamia Milia Islamia University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, has been organising protests in different parts of the campus since June 1, when admissions opened.
"We want to stop the privatisation and commercialisation of education. We oppose the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, based on which the semester system decision was taken by the university," AIDSO president Bhaskarananda told IANS on the sidelines of the protest.
The protesters held that with the introduction of the semester system, students would be "over-burdened" with preparation for examinations two times a year, which would in turn hamper their participation in the varsity's traditionally buzzing extra curricular events.
"There is no need to change the existing annual system which has been going on ever since the varsity was established. We have expressed our discontentment to the Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental as well as to the Delhi University Students Union - but so far we have received no response," Bhaskarananda said.
The protest got louder with time as more and more students swarmed into the arts faculty admission centre to make it in time for the last day of admission form submissions. The ongoing protest caught the attention of many varsity aspirants.
"I heard the protest. But I don't have any qualms with the semester system. The way I see it if I don't perform well in one semester I can make it up in the second one," said Sakshi Handa, a BCom aspirant filling her form at the admission centre.
Meanwhile, S K Vij, Delhi University dean of students welfare said the protests were futile since "the decision has been taken".
"The academic counsellors of the university unanimously took the decision that the semester system would come into effect from the 2010-2011 academic session. We will stand by the decision and students' protests will not make a difference," Vij told IANS.