Known as the nurturing ground for budding artists, Delhi’s College of Art had, for nearly a month, turned into a conflict zone before the students were heard by the authorities and urged to end their strike.
For the past few weeks, hand-printed posters and banners and colourful graffitti on walls, walkaways and pavements indicated the students’ desire for changes in the institute.
They have been demanding better academic infrastructure, a more refined curriculum, besides a host of other things. “We want more hygienic washrooms, reopening of the college stationery shop which has been closed for about eight months, a placement cell in the college and medical facilities for students, upgradation of technical laboratories, an e-library and WiFi facilities, etc. The college is under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government and we have approached the chief minister with a memorandum highlighting our demands,” says Meet Narang, a student representative.
After intensifying their campaign for a week the students got some relief when a meeting was held at the Department of Training and Technical Education (TTE) on September 21 to seek resolutions for their grievances and to find ways to end the strike. It was attended by Manoj Kumar, director (TTE), Raj Kumar, additional director (TTE), and SN Lahiri, officiating principal of the college, among others. Issues such as formation of a student representative body through an informal selection process, besides students’ representation in the official sexual harassment committee of the college were discussed. Students have decided to resume classes for now and are waiting for the directions by the TTE to be implemented soon.
1) Immediate formation and call for official student executive association/student welfare association
2) Official representation of students in college committee against sexual harrasment
3) Resumption of educational tour for third and fourth-year students
4) Nomination of students representatives for advisory body (with respect to curriculum revision) of the college which should consist of three teachers, eminent and contemporary artists and three students .