The DTF expresses its deep concern over the manner in which the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deepak Pental, has reduced democratic spaces for informed debate. He pursues a borrowed ‘Vision’ of his masters and entertains no questions and arguments. His utter disregard for consultative processes and refusal to meet academic arguments and concerns are evident in the manner in which he has pushed through decisions. They are also evident in the interview with the Times of India (published on 12 June 09). Such arbitrary manner of bringing in changes will be disastrous for the University.
The manner in which the Vice Chancellor conducted the Academic Council meeting of 5 June 09 was shocking. He dismissed the arguments advanced by the Staff Councils of various colleges without giving any justification and insisted that there was no alternative to implementing semester system at the undergraduate level since the UGC had so desired. These arguments have been presented on the DTF website https://dtfdu.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/letter-to-vc-25-5-09/ . When such autocratic denial of deliberations on the desirability and viability of the semester system drew protest from the elected members, amidst utter confusion, he claimed that he had got the approval of the the Academic Council to implement semester system at the undergraduate level from 2010-2011.
The VC’s actions are in line with the ‘Vision’ of the Government agencies for higher education. Contrary to the talks by the UPA government of inclusive growth and emphasis on social sector, of which higher education is an integral part, the HRD minister Kapil Sibal has expressed eagerness to implement the regressive report of the National Knowledge Commission. The report had been shelved by the HRD Ministry after it had come under severe criticism by academia all over the country. The implementation of the National Knowledge Commission means pushing Universities and colleges toward greater mobilization of funds to the tune of 20% for meeting their expenses, curtailing the powers of the Academic Council, University Court and Executive Council, which in the opinion of the NKC “slow down decision-making processes.”
The reason-blind drive to implement semester system is the first step towards commercialization and privatization of the higher education. This will be followed by conversion of the colleges to autonomous colleges and institution of bilateral exchange programmes to transfer credits so that private business in education would find more space to thrive. The VC has also shown complete ignorance as to why has Delhi University rejected accreditation and assessment by NAAC when he told the Time of India that the misgivings about NAAC are past when there is widespread misgivings over ratings by NAAC among institutions which
have got assessed.
In the emergency meeting of the DUTA Executive held on 11 June 09, it was unanimously resolved to resist the VC’s move to implement Semester system at the undergraduate level in this dictatorial manner. Following action programs were chalked out:
In the forthcoming AC meeting (16 June 09) the AC members shall appeal the house to withdraw the decision. If the demand is not met, all AC members to enter the well and protest till court arrest.
DUTA dharna shall be staged outside the VC’s office at 2:00 pm on the same day (16 June 09).
Immediately after the university re opens DUTA shall hold GBM on the issue.
The Democratic Teachers’ Front appeals to the teaching community to collectively resist the VC’s move to implement semester system at UG level.