Admissions for the new academic session would only be under the three-year programme, the UGC told DU, its colleges and students on Sunday, warning any deviation would have serious consequences.
The University Grants Commission’s (UGC's) latest directive, which comes two days before admissions open and a day after the Delhi University defied its order to junk the controversial four-year degree course, has put colleges in a fix. They are not sure if they should wait for the Delhi University guidelines or implement the regulator’s order.
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“We are caught in the middle. Technically we take orders from the university on admission related matters but this is a situation where we don’t know what to do,” the principal of a top north campus college said. “We are hoping that the university reconciles with the UGC’s view,” the principal, who didn’t wish to be identified, said.
St Stephen’s College, which is already in the process of admitting students, has decided to defer final admissions till the matter is decided. Setting a deadline for Monday “forenoon”, a tough-talking UGC told DU that failure by it and its 64 colleges to comply with the order could result in punitive action like freezing of grants.
Apart from informing the colleges individually, it also put a notice on its website telling students and parents that admissions would only be for the three-year undergraduate programme offered prior to the introduction of the four-year course and fees should be paid for only three years. Adding to DU’s embarrassment, the regulator is expected to put notices in newspapers as well.
The university has also been asked to ensure that students in the four-year programme were moved to the three-year system.
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The UGC came in for criticism for communicating with colleges directly. “Directly communicating with the colleges will cost heavily in terms of erosion of university autonomy. The unprecedented alacrity of the UGC in passing orders one after another, assaulting the university autonomy smacks of politically motivated designs,” Academics for Action and Development, a teachers body, said.
Introduced last year, the four-year undergraduate programme was bitterly opposed by both the students and teachers but the university stood by it. The BJP in its manifesto for the Delhi elections had promised to scrap the course.
The standoff not only leaves 60,000 students already pursuing the course facing uncertainty but also threatens to derail the admission process. This year, DU has received 275,000 applications for 54,000 undergraduate seats.