Teachers worry as DU mulls semester for arts, commerce
Delhi University teachers are agitated again over the semester system, as the varsity hopes to introduce it in humanities and commerce courses from the new academic year that begins in July.
Last year, the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) and the university administration locked horns over the introduction of semester system in 13 science courses.
The teachers had opposed the switch from annual to semester mode citing reasons such as dilution of courses, lack of infrastructure and teachers.
Finally, after a court order in November 2010, the varsity adopted the semester in the science courses. The new vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, who took charge in October, had said that all due process would be followed and teachers would be consulted before the semester system is introduced in humanities and commerce streams.
The teachers, however, said they were not consulted while the courses were restructured, despite such assurances. "After the last V-C's high-handedness about introduction of semester system, we were hopeful about things changing for the better, but even the new V-C has disappointed us," said said Sanam Khanna, who teaches English at Kamla Nehru College.
The department is yet to begin the process of restructuring the English syllabus.
"We are not opposed to change but it has to go beyond tokenism. What is the point in bifurcating the annual syllabus arbitrarily without any thought into the semester? The views of college teachers are very important as they are the ones who are going to be teaching the syllabus," Khanna added.
The vice-chancellor had called a meeting of all heads of departments to discuss the semester issue. They, in turn, were asked to meet the teacher in-charge in each college.
However, in the meeting with their respective heads of departments, the English and the economics teachers in-charge demanded a general body meeting to discuss the new system. The history and philosophy teachers in their meeting rejected the semester system.
"Substantial time is needed for proper syllabus revision but on February 9, the V-C sent a letter to departments asking them to prepare an interim syllabus by March 4. How can something as serious as syllabus change be done in such a hurried manner?" asked an economics teacher.
Vice-chancellor Singh, however, said no rules were violated. "The university cannot run in dual mode. Hence, along with sciences we are switching to semester in humanities and commerce this year. There is no syllabus change as of now, unless the department wants it. There will be simple bifurcation of syllabus at the moment, so that in the coming two-three years, the teachers can revise the courses properly. With the semester system, the workload will increase and hence more permanent positions will be created for teachers," the V-C said.