The committee formed by the Delhi Government to look into the ailing Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) the government’s flagship engineering college has recommended that DCE be made autonomous and free from government control. Moreover, it has suggested that faculty should be recruited through a Standing Selection Committee rather than the Union Public Service Commission. The report states, “The committee is of the firm view that there is need to alter the status of DCE…DCE has to be made autonomous to overcome the constraint of Government rules and to make the system more flexible.”
The committee, headed by Prof P.V. Indirasen, former director of IIT Madras, has come down heavily on the college for lack of research among faculty and no systematic approach towards regular revision of college syllabus.
“We have recommended that problems such as delay in hiring of faculty, lack of research among faculty members and failure of Career Assessment Schemes can be overcome through autonomy and delegating certain powers to the principal of DCE,” said Prof Indirasen. “Moreover, efforts have to be made to attract good quality faculty by giving research grants and other incentives,” he said.
The committee has recommended that revision of the syllabus should be part of the annual report and appropriate dates should be mentioned in the academic calendar to discuss the revision. Notably, in May 2008, Hindustan Times had reported about the outdated syllabus being taught at DCE. The computer-engineering syllabus at the premier college hadn’t been revised for the past 10 years. Moreover, recruitment through UPSC could take up to two years, resulting in 40 per cent faculty shortage.
The committee report mentions that only 26 of the 110 regular faculty have published research papers and only 8 of the 26 had been published in international journals.
“Autonomy to the college will certainly solve many problems. But there has to be consensus among college staff, both teaching and non-teaching regarding autonomy,” said principal A.K. Bhattacharya.
In fact, many faculty members are opposed to the idea of autonomy. “Autonomy will lead to favoritism. Despite having a faculty shortage of almost 50 per cent we have maintained the standards,” claimed Prof M.P.S. Mahandroo, president of DCE Teachers’ Association.
CM Shiela Dikshit, who also holds the higher education portfolio, said: “The recommendations to make DCE autonomous will have to be discussed in the cabinet. There was no separate committee to look into the working of the DCE.”