The MHRD (Govt. of India) and the UGC have asked all universities to implement a Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) from the start of the next academic session in July 2015. The DUTA had sought feedback from Staff Associations and nearly 30 colleges sent in their resolutions totally rejecting or opposing the CBCS. The colleges included ANDC, BRAC, BCAS, CVS, DCAC, DSC, DBC, HRC, IP, IHE, KMC, KNC, LSR, MH, MLN (M), MLN (E), MAC, PGDAV, Rajdhani, SBSC (E), SGTB Khalsa, Satyawati (M) and Vivekananda. It was reported that a few other colleges had also met and rejected the CBCS.
Most of the resolutions highlighted the teachers’ experience of the semester system and FYUP and it was felt that the quality of the teaching-learning process had been greatly undermined leading to academic dilution. Teachers also felt that since the CBCS was based on the semester system and was a new form of the FYUP, its implementation would have disastrous consequences for the university. Teachers also expressed their dismay at the brazen manner in which the government is trying to impose a uniform structure and curriculum in all universities across the country in complete disregard to academic autonomy. This imposition also takes away from teachers their role in policy matters and decision making, reducing them to lecture delivering machines.
Members also expressed the view that the CBCS is not a new reform. Since 2008, the Union Government has been trying to implement it in a piecemeal fashion. The forced introduction of the Semester System in all UG courses was the first step. The CBCS is an integral part of the Central Universities Act of 2009 as well as that of the Common Central Universities Bill, 2013. Instead of seriously considering the critique of the semester system and CBCS that has systematically emerged from various universities in India and other parts of the world, the MHRD is projecting a failed system as “reforms”. The UGC document does not make it clear how the CBCS will address the existing crisis in higher educational institutions today, such as shortage of faculty, lack of infrastructure, skewed teacher student ratio, among others. Instead of trying to address the issues of quality, equity and accessibility, it chooses to shrug off its responsibility by proposing the PPP model, which will accentuate the problems rather than addressing them.
In light of the above, the DUTA Executive unequivocally rejects the implementation of the proposed CBCS and the imposition of the common curriculum without debate or discussion because of its disastrous implications for issues of quality and access to higher education. The DUTA Executive demands a roll-back of the semester system and also rejects the Common Central Universities Bill, 2013 for its complete disregard for academic autonomy and diversity of universities.
The DUTA Executive proposes that the opposition to CBCS be communicated forthright to the MHRD and UGC and demands a dialogue on what “reforms” should entail for universities today. The DUTA Executive also decided that a GBM be held in the first week of May. It was also decided to hold a public meeting by inviting academicians and other sections. Further, the DUTA will organise a joint dharna with CCTAD and students to highlight the disastrous consequences of the proposals. The decision of the DUTA must be communicated to the constituents of the FEDCUTA and the possibility of coordinating with all India teachers’ organisations such as AIFUCTO be explored.