DU seeks feedback on revised undergraduate curriculum
Members of the curriculum revision committee of the Delhi University committee said one of the major focus areas will be to identify topics and texts which could trigger a “controversy”.Updated: May 17, 2019 12:09 IST
The curriculum revision committee of the Delhi University (DU) on Thursday invited suggestions and feedback on revised undergraduate courses syllabus from stakeholders on the university’s official website.
Members of the committee said one of the major focus areas will be to identify topics and texts which could trigger a “controversy”.
A member of the committee said the panel will analyse the feedback to identify topics and books which would receive negative comments. “There have been instances when some texts and topics being taught in our colleges led to protests due to their
controversial nature. To avoid this, we have decided to remove such topics and books from the revised curriculum after receiving the feedback,” said the member, requesting anonymity.
However, a section of the academia and executive councils of the university has called the decision “anti-academic”. Abha Dev Habib, a lecturer at Miranda House, said, “There has to be a rationale. If someone is saying that certain topic is inappropriate then there should be a discussion before its removal.”
Hansraj Suman, member of DU’S academic council (AC), said that it was decided last year that no controversial book, topic or reading will be included in the syllabus of undergraduate courses. “There was resistance against some sociology and history books during a review meeting on the revised syllabus of post graduate courses last year. It was then decided in the presence of the vice chancellor that no such topic or book will be included in the revised curriculum of the undergraduate courses,” he said.
Some members of the standing committee of academic council last year recommended the removal of two books from the reading list of History department, citing the fact that they “glorify Naxalism”. Later in last October some members also recommended removing three books by Dalit activist Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd from the political science reading list after some members found them “controversial”. However, the recommendations were rejected by the departments after a strong criticism by teachers and students.
Rajesh Jha, member of the executive council (EC), said the process of curriculum revision is “undemocratic”. “As per DU rules of syllabus revision, the departments will draft the revised curriculum through individual committees of all courses offered by them. It is then sent to each faculty for approval. It is further passed by the standing council before going for a discussion in AC. Then the final draft is passed by the EC. The university has bypassed all these steps and allowed the departments to constitute a single committee and prepare the drafts for all courses without consulting the other faculty members,” he said.
A member of the curriculum revision committee said the entire process is “transparent” and said, “We will definitely send the feedbacks to the departments. They will be given some time for discussion but it is always better to sanitise some material that can draw any controversy.”