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Autonomy talk back in Delhi University, St Stephen’s discusses plan

St Stephen’s College will hold a meeting of its governing body to discuss application for autonomy status. The Delhi University Teachers Association is opposed to the move and has called a protest on Saturday.

delhi Updated: Feb 26, 2017 07:36 IST
Shradha Chettri
Shradha Chettri
Hindustan Times
St Stephen’s College,Autonomy for DU colleges,St Stephen's autonomy
The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) has called for protest against this meeting.(Hindustan Times)

The debate over granting autonomous status to different colleges of Delhi University is back. St Stephen’s College has called a meeting of the governing body on Saturday to discuss the university’s proposal for the grant of autonomy.

Opposing the proposal, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) called for protest against the governing body’s meeting. DUTA said that by granting autonomy, DU will be disintegrated and claimed that it is a move towards fund cut and privatisation.

The debate about granting autonomy dates back to the 80s. The autonomous status means that the colleges will be able to frame their own syllabus, follow their own fee structure and will no longer be a constituent college of DU. The colleges will have a deemed university status. There are other colleges like Shri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC) and Hansraj College that have been seeking autonomy.

In 1981, St Stephen’s was offered autonomy by the ministry of human resource development. Then too, DUTA had opposed the move. In 2013, similar offer was made to Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) where also the move was opposed by the teacher’s body.

“With autonomy, funding to these colleges will be slowly reduced and finally cut completely. It is a policy of the government towards privatisation and killing public-funded institutions,” said Rajesh Jha, member, executive council.

In November 2016, the University Grants Commission (UGC) sent a notice to the Delhi University and its colleges about clauses on autonomous colleges being incorporated in the UGC IX Plan guidelines. Earlier, in 2013 too, this clause was revised by the ministry under the sixth Five Year Plan.

“All the principals of the colleges who wish to avail the benefits of the UGC scheme may apply to the revised guidelines,” the UGC notice said. Following the orders, DU has formed a committee to look into the matter.

“We are at present looking into the proposals and only institutions which have the required infrastructure and teacher-student ratio will be given autonomous status,” said a member of the university committee.

St Stephen’s principal was not available for comment.

First Published: Feb 25, 2017 14:14 IST