Panjab University puts on hold merger of Urdu, other small departments
Panjab University on Monday postponed the meeting of a committee constituted to merge small departments and centres, after stiff opposition from various stakeholders.
HT reported about the proposed merger on September 26. The committee, headed by dean university instructions (DUI) Shankar Ji Jha, had proposed that all the centres in the University Institute for Emerging Areas in Science and Technology be merged with different departments and departments having less than six faculty members be combined to form schools.
The most contentious among these proposals was the merger of Urdu department in the proposed School of Foreign Languages along with French, German, Russian, Tibetan and Chinese languages. The committee was to meet on Monday to finalise its recommendations.
“We have received many letters against the merger of small departments. That is why we postponed the committee meeting. It can only be done if teachers and students support us,” said Jha.
Even as the proposed merger is in compliance with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) requirements, as it aims to improve academic performance by allowing departments to share infrastructure and human resources, Panjab University Teacher’s Association (PUTA) was the first to criticise it for lack of consultation with the stakeholders.
PU also faced flak for clubbing the Urdu department with foreign languages. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday expressed his “surprise” over the move and shared on Twitter: “Urdu is an Indian language, like all great languages of our country. Will speak to the vice-chancellor and senators to review this decision immediately.” The funding of the university is shared between the Punjab government and the Centre.
Chetan Chaudhary, the newly elected president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC), also opposed the move in a letter addressed to Jha on Monday. Chetan, who is a student of the Urdu department, said: “I want to emphasise that this language is at the heart of the rich and diversified heritage of our country, and to include it in foreign languages is a matter of utter disrespect and shame for our country.”