While Smt Smriti Irani, Minister HRD, met Vice Chancellors today, 7 July 2015 at Vigyan Bhavan to discuss implementation of the Choice Based Credit System, students and teachers collected under the banner of the DUTA-FEDCUTA to hold a vibrant Flash Protest programme at Vigyan Bhavan at 10 am. The participants included FEDCUTA Office Bearers from Central Universities in Delhi. The police, who were not expecting any protest at the venue, was taken by surprise. It took them an hour to respond and call their forces to disperse the protesters.
Placards reading ” VCs on Board, Teachers Ignored” expressed sentiments of the participants who have been pushed completely outside the policy making and their voices are being ignored.The MHRD and the UGC cannot shy away from the fact that there is a growing body of criticism against CBCS against its structure, content and intent. The debate is in the public domain and the MHRD needs to take cognizance of the fact that there is a vast gap between the feedback given by the Vice Chancellors and the ground realities. With less than a fortnight for the new academic session to start, lakhs of students cannot be treated as guinea pigs and sacrificed for half baked reforms which lack quality. Teachers and educators have vehemently opposed the idea of a common structure and common syllabi as it runs counter to the diverse socio-cultural realities and learning needs of our people spread through various regions. It is an attack on the autonomy of universities to create centralised,common syllabi that ignore the best practices of each university based on the needs of their target students, The ‘one-size fits all’ formula of the UGC is bound to impede innovation. It is also a matter of great worry that most of the syllabi hosted on the UGC website are “cut and paste” of the syllabi of the discredited Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) at DU which was scrapped last year.
The DUTA wrote again to the MHRD yesterday, 6 July, reminding the Minister that now that 70% of admissions in Delhi University are over, implementation of CBCS will lead to a grave illegality(http://www.duta-du.info/2015/07/duta-letter-to-mhrd-672015.html). As per the Act, the University can offer only those courses which are provided by the ordinances. As the CBCS courses have not been adopted by the Academic Council and the Executive Council till date, implementation of CBCS at Delhi University now would be a grave illegality. The DUTA reminded the Minister that last year, during the rollback of FYUP, the admission process was deferred till such time the AC and the EC adopted resolutions of its rollback and adopted courses offered in 2012-13 to be the courses in which admissions would take place. The DUTA, through its letter, warned the Minister that the Vice Chancellor, DU may not represent the facts correctly. Delhi University is totally unprepared for any new change at this stage. Hurried top-down frequent “reforms” over the last four years have resulted in deep dilution of academic and examination standards. Even the debate on this systemic change was disallowed in the Academic Council and the Executive Council in their meetings of 21 January and 28 May 2015 respectively, as the VC and his team announced that the CBCS has to be implemented as per the MHRD and the UGC directives.
Through the vibrant protest the students and teachers warned the Minister against the top-down hurried reform. The PPP model, envisaged by the UPA II and now being pushed by the NDA Government, will not only take away access to higher education from a large section, widening the disparities, but also ruin the quality of public funded education system. The real Choice will be available to people only if the gap between supply and demand in the education sector is bridged by greater public spending in education. Universities and colleges starving of infrastructure and teachers cannot offer choices, they shall remain on paper as they have in the past.
The slogans “Choice ka drama nahi chalega” and ” CBCS ko jana hoga, warna roz dharna hoga” resonated outside Vigyan Bhawan, signaling the resolve of teachers and students to raise the pitch of the protest if the matter is not opened for a wider public debate. The implementation of CBCS across universities should be debated as one of aspects of the New Education Policy.