At its executive council (EC) meeting on Tuesday, Delhi University authorised the adoption of the National Education Policy (NEP) and a four-year undergraduate curriculum. According to Registrar Vikas Gupta, the NEP will be implemented beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. He stated that three lawmakers were opposed to its execution.
Last Monday, the Standing Committee on Academic Matters and the Academic Council authorised the implementation of the NEP and four-year undergraduate programme. The multiple entry/exit system (MEES), which allows students to enter and quit the programme at various times, and the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) were both authorised at last week’s sessions.
The MEES and ABC were authorised by the EC, the university’s top decision-making body. Members claimed in a dissent letter opposing the policy’s adoption that it will lead to the privatisation and commercialization of education, as well as the “destruction of India’s greatest public financed institution.”
They further claimed that its adoption will dilute learning and education quality at the university. On Tuesday, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) organised an online protest against the NEP’s implementation. The meeting also considered the College of Art’s de-affiliation from Delhi University and its affiliation with the city-run Ambedkar University.
“A committee has been formed to look into the matter. The entire EC was not happy with the conduct of the Delhi government and it was decided to form a committee,” Gupta said.
The university had previously stated that it will build facilitation centres on land provided by the Delhi government in Roshanpura, Najafgarh, and Bhati Kalan, Fatehpur Beri. The centres would prevent students from far-flung locations from making a long trip to the university campus and will provide assistance with examination and admission-related procedures.
The university also intends to establish a college at Fatehpur Beri, for which the names of Delhi’s first female chief minister, Sushma Swaraj, Swami Vivekananda, Veer Savarkar, and Sardar Patel have been offered. The EC also gave its approval to the signing of a tripartite agreement between the education ministry, DU, and UGC. Two members voiced their dissatisfaction with it.
According to university officials, the tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) requires universities to continuously increase internal (self-generated) financial resources through fee hikes, shift to revenue-generating commercial courses, engage in other commercial activities, and manage a greater portion of their research activities through extramural funding.
“We have been consistently opposing the tri-patriate MoU as an instrument to impose privatisation and contractualisation on DU. The original MoU signed was not shared in public and we have to follow the template sent by MoE every year,” the note read.
“The draft MoU seems to be a PR document to appease the ministry and facts have not been presented. There is nothing in this document to show that how serious are the challenges on the front of funding and staffing. There is a lack of clarity on how the teacher and students ratio has been reached,” it said.
“Secondly, it should be made specific that the new hostels will be started with the UGC and the government funding only. Higher Education Financing Agency (a joint venture company of a bank and the education ministry which provides financial assistance to educational institutions funding will make the things costly for students, especially SC, ST, OBC, EWS ones,” according to the note.
They also stated that a fee increase is possible, which would have far-reaching effects “in public-funded colleges like DU, where 60% of students are from SC, ST, OBC, and EWS.”The plan to appoint foreign academics as adjunct facilities in departments was also authorised by the EC. Seema Das, an EC member, spoke out against the decision, claiming that it will reduce the strain of individuals functioning as ad hoc faculty members while waiting to be regularised.