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Andhra govt seeks to affiliate Venkateswara College with Andhra University; students and teachers hold protest

The Andhra Pradesh government has written to the Union ministry of education seeking to disaffiliate Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi, from Delhi University (DU) and affiliate it with the Andhra University (AU) in Visakhapatnam
By Fareeha Iftikhar and Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:13 PM IST

The Andhra Pradesh government has written to the Union ministry of education seeking to disaffiliate Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi, from Delhi University (DU) and affiliate it with the Andhra University (AU) in Visakhapatnam. Both teachers and students of DU have objected to move and said they will not allow attempts to alter the present status of Venkateswara college.

According to an official from the Andhra Pradesh(AP) chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s office, the CM had written a letter to Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on February 12. Reddy’s letter said, “The Sri Venkateswara College in Delhi is managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which also manages the famous Lord Venkateshwara temple on Tirumala Hills. The TTD manages the college through a governing council, headed by the chairman of the TTD Trust Board, which nominates 10 of the 15 members of the council. It plays an active role in the management and growth of the college.”

The Andhra chief minister has proposed that his government will amend the AP Universities Act, 1991, to expand the power of affiliation of Andhra University so that Sri Venkateswara College may be affiliated with it. This would facilitate greater access to higher education in Delhi for students from Andhra Pradesh, Reddy said.

“There is a need for seats in that college to be made available to students from the state,” he said in the letter.

Citing University Grants Commission(UGC)’s 2009 rules that barred state universities from operating colleges beyond their respective state’s jurisdiction, Reddy wrote in the letter, “I request the Central government to direct UGC under Section 20 of the UGC Act to exempt AU from clause (b) of the UGC and allow it to affiliate Sri Venkateswara College, as an off-campus in New Delhi, thus paving the way for students of AP to access quality higher education in Delhi.”

Officials at the Venkateswara College said they have not received any communication either from their management or the Andhra government yet. DU spokesperson and dean of colleges Balram Pani said, “The Andhra government has not written anything to DU in this regard as yet. A state university cannot operate colleges outside their state; so there is no possibility of the merger of a DU college with AU or any other state university.”

Sri Venkateswara College, which was established in 1961, comes under the south campus of the Delhi University.

The staff association of Venkateswara College held a protest on the college premises against the development on Thursday, while a group of students protested on the campus on Friday. The teachers also submitted a memorandum to the college authorities saying, “Any move to affiliate to any state /another university will result in drastic changes in salary, employment tenure, and service conditions of employees that shall adversely impact the academic quality of the institution and also bring untold misery to their lives...The staff association resolves to remain firmly as a constituent college of the University of Delhi.”

Students also started a campaign on Twitter with hashtags, #Venky_belongs_to_DU and #GobackAU. “It’s like taking someone’s identity. Students take admission to Sri Venkateswara College because it is affiliated with DU. If they wanted to take admission in AU or any other state university, they would have gone there,” said Naveen Kumar, a student of the college.

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