St Stephen’s principal relents, will consult teachers, students over autonomy move
Autonomy for St Stephens’ would mean that it will cease to be a Delhi University (DU) constituent college and will be free to take its own decisions in framing syllabus, fee structure, starting new college branches and will enjoy other academic freedom.delhi Updated: Mar 03, 2017 23:08 IST
St Stephen’s College principal John Varghese has agreed to the students and teachers demand to hold consultations on the autonomy issue.
Varghese has said that he will write to the governing body to rescind the decision on applying for autonomy. He has also said that he will ask the body to begin the consultation process with all stakeholders.
The college had on February 25 held a governing body meet and said that they have decided to apply for autonomy in principle.
Autonomy for St Stephens’ would mean that it will cease to be a Delhi University (DU) constituent college and will be free to take its own decisions in framing syllabus, fee structure, starting new college branches and will enjoy other academic freedom.
Teachers and students are opposed to the move alleging it will disintegrate DU and it is a move towards privatisation.
Teachers and students have been protesting for a process of consultation and consensus on the issue before the college moves the application process. The students had started an #OccupyAndrewsCourt movement.
The decision was taken on Friday after the five-hour long staff council meeting. A resolution signed by 31 teachers was handed to the principal, which stated — “We express strong opposition to the decision of the governing body to seek autonomous status for the college. The staff council demands that the governing body rescind the decision that has grave implications for the financial stability, academic viability, fee structure, service conditions of employees and the basic character of the college as a public-funded institution that has provided affordable quality education to diverse sections of society.”
Varghese gave a written assurance which said, “The chair (principal) decided to carry the concerns of the teachers to the governing body and will urge the members to permit the principal to have the discussion with all stakeholders and then decide whether or not application for autonomy is made to DU and University Grants Commission.”
With the principal agreeing to their demand, the teachers have decided to hold back the resignations from voluntary administrative positions, which they had threatened earlier.
The principal also addressed the students who had been sitting outside the venue of the staff council meeting.
“We appreciate the principal for the stance he has taken. This is only the beginning of a monumental movement for upholding the spirit of democracy, debate and discussion the college has traditionally stood for,” the students of the college said in a written statement.