The Delhi University Teachers’ Association(DUTA) three-day Jansunvai (Public Hearing) against the DU Vice-Chancellor’s misdeeds kicked off today with students, teachers and parents sharing their experiences of the academic situation which has sharply deteriorated in Dinesh Singh’s tenure. Students Neeraj Kumar and Shahnawaz spoke on the experiences of students in regular colleges and School of Open Learning (SOL), underlining the neglect and academic fraud perpetuated in the name of restructuring and reforms. Academic Council member and teacher of Computer Science, Dr. V.S. Dixit, spoke on the callous manner in which DU disregarded all AICTE norms related to technical support, course content, class-sizes and student-teacher ratio while it merely renamed existing B.Sc. courses into B.Tech, thus precipitating the crisis of AICTE approvals. Student Prashant also underlined that the fraudulent B.Tech. courses not only fall far short of the AICTE standards but, as a result, also put the enrolled students into a disadvantage in comparison to B. Tech. students from other institutes. Neeraj and Prashant also spoke on the academically disastrous and prejudiced decision to discontinue Special Chance which has affected the careers of hundreds of students and on which, despite the High Court’s order asking the University, by 27 February, to consider resuming the facility, DU has not convened a single meeting on the issue yet.
Academic Council member and teacher of Commerce Dr. Hemchand Jain spoke on the disastrous impact of the Semester System and FYUP on the Commerce discipline. He argued that training in the fundamentals of the discipline became dispensable while the VC’s coterie started promoted market-friendly specialized areas in which they were writing text-books. The model of decision-making guided by fraudulent and unacademic interests and combined with the VC’s authoritarian ego was outlined by History professor Bhairavi Sahoo. Prof. Sahoo also highlighted the fact that the best-performing academic departments of the University, like English, Economics and History were particularly targeted by the VC and his administration.
Bela Shelat , mother of a Political Science (Hons.) student at Sri Venkateshwara College, spoke about how the arbitrary withdrawal of the Revaluation scheme had adversely affected her son’s career and thrown him into depression. She reported that the administration deliberately ignored his appeals and infact told him to give up seeking redressal. She held the VC squarely responsible for creating a mindless and unaccountable system in which the students’ hope of academic improvement is dashed.
Saikat Ghosh and Vinita Chandra, both teachers of English, spoke on the inflexibility of the semester system which was brought in by Dinesh Singh by arm-twisting departments into submission. The semester system has been found to be a big failure in DU and has paralysed teaching-learning. It has also given rise to distortions in the examination system and turned internal assessment into a farcical ritual.
Executive Council member Dr. A. K. Bhagi summarized the concerns of students and teachers by reiterating the cosmetic nature of academic changes which were decided without paying attention to the real needs of the University. He also slammed the VC for misleading thousands of students and parents with unapproved and fraudulent courses while simultaneously silencing a large section of teachers by issuing continuous threats and taking sadistic punitive measures against the teaching community. Hence, he observed, an overwhelming majority of teachers and students are demanding the VC’s removal and hoping for a reversal of many of the academic changes initiated or carried out during his tenure.
The DUTA Junsunwai will continue on next two days, focusing on illegalities and financial irregularities on Tuesday, 31 March and repressive governance and assault on the democratic fabric of the University on 1 April 2015.