The assurance given by the Union HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal, to a delgation of Jat leaders to help the Delhi Government create a new University by taking away 28 colleges of the University of Delhi smacks of an ugly opportunist policy that is antithetical to the principle of expansion of quality and inclusive education. He did not feel it necessary to talk to the teachers, non-teaching staff and students who have joined these colleges as teachers, staff and students of the University of Delhi.
The Delhi Government has made unsuccessful attempts many times to do precisely the same: lay claim to expanision without spending any money by merely taking away these existing colleges to set up a University. It has already illegally and forcefully occupied the Delhi College of Engineering and converted it into a State University, where it envisages expansion on the basis of self-financed courses alone, that is reserving the expansion for the moneyed.
The DTF is strongly opposed to the move on following grounds:
- OBC reservations in admissions in Cental Universities are accompanied by historic expansion of public funded accessible education. The transfer of institutions does not augment this inclusiveness. If Mr. Sibal or the Delhi Government are committed in principle, nothing prevents them from starting new institutions. Instead, both seek expansion of education in the private sector, which will effectively shut out students from SC/ST, OBC and other deprived sections from availing the benefit of such expansion. That is why playing up to Jat leaders in this manner amounts to reducing a principled position to electoral opportunism.
- The University of Delhi caters to students from all over the country. However, it can not be denied that a large number of students from Delhi as compared to any other state are admitted in this University. It is, therefore, inappropriate for the Delhi Government to complain now that it offered to fund colleges of the University of Delhi. It is even more unacceptable when the Union Minister agrees with the complaint and allows it to take away the colleges instead of offering to fund them through the UGC.
- Mr. Sibal’s love for the market, competition and everything private in education is at core a policy that deprives the deprived. Playing identity politics of whatever kind can not obliterate this reality. In fact, if he were so committed he would work toward redressing the ineffectiveness of reservations for the non-creamy OBC students due to the policy denial of not allowing more than 10% relaxation in marks in admissions.
- Those who have joined these colleges set up under the University of Delhi have a right to continue with the University of Delhi. The DTF warns the Union Minister and the Delhi Government against unjust and ill-advised moves. Such moves will be met by determined and militant action by the teachers, karamcharis and students.