Press Release, 24.12.2010

Teachers re-assert the resolve to challenge Government Policy

The DTF thanks teachers of the University of Delhi for expressing overwhelming support for its candidate, Rajib Ray, and electing him to the Executive Council. At the end of the counting of the first preference vote, Rajib Ray had polled 2262 votes and had crossed the number of votes required to be elected by over 400 votes. Mr. Shiba Panda of the AAD had secured 1675 votes and Mr. Sri Prakash Singh of the NDTF, 1227 votes.

Warning to the Government

Through this overwhelming support, teachers have expressed their resolve to oppose the policy of restructuring education to facilitate commercialisation and privatisation. The teachers have rejected the policy assumption that excellence in higher education will come about through expansion based solely on private investment, domestic or foreign. They have also rejected mindless semesterisation without regard for the suitability of the system for courses in large affiliating universities such as the undergraduate courses in the University of Delhi. In the face of serious concerns based on academic arguments as to why the existing annual system system, which has with continuous assessment, is superior to the proposed semester system in terms of course design and pedagogy, the Government plays on popular impression about semester system. The overriding motive is to institute a uniform academic calendar at all cost to facilitate those who have the money to move across institutions so that education becomes a profitable business.

The teaching community has also expressed its opposition to the policy to reduce expenditure on education through negative changes in promotion rules which will deny promotions to most teachers and make teaching profession further unattractive for talent.

Warning to the University Administration

This result is also a warning to the University administration against surrendering university autonomy, flouting due processes and disregarding healthy democratic practices of consultation and debate in academic decision making. The vitiation of the academic milieu through arm-twisting, abuse of authority, non-observance of due process and the intolerance towards academic debate must end. The DTF calls upon the authorities to take responsibility as academic administrators and academics and to help restore an environment of free and fearless exchange of ideas and tolerance of dissent. The institution of the University is different from that of the police or the army. Regimentation and dictates can only undermine its excellence. A respectable academic administration must have the courage to stand up to the government, to subvert unacademic hierarchy and to represent academic opinion.

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