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Delhi University crisis: A course that has gone awry

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 - 7:58pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI
  • Representational picture

Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh resigned on Tuesday apparently in protest against the UGC’s direction to dump the controversial Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) deepening the crisis ahead of the new academic session.

A professor of maths, who has been Vice Chancellor for less than four years, Mr Singh quit his post after the University and the UGC were set on a collision course over the FYUP, DU’s media coordinator Malay Neerav said without giving details.

The UGC had asked the DU to dump the four-year course and revert to the three-year structure. The DU was asked to give a compliance report by Monday forenoon.

However, Mr Singh is said to have resented the directive as encroaching upon the autonomy of the university and is believed to have quit on the issue after the HRD ministry washed its hands off asking the DU and the UGC to resolve the issue amicably.

Yesterday, principals of the colleges affiliated to the Delhi University decided to defer the admission process that was to start today for the new academic session.

The VC’s resignation further deepens uncertainty over the admission process that involves the fate of over 2.7 lakh students clamouring for about 54,000 seats in 64 colleges.

Soon after the news of resignation spread, there were celebrations in the university campus. Students danced to the beats of drums and teachers opposed to the four-year course distributed sweets over their “victory”.

Delhi University Teachers’ Association President and member of UGC’s standing committee Nandita Narain welcomed the Vice Chancellor’s decision saying he had no choice at all.

“He had lost his moral authority to be in the seat altogether because his position became completely untenable,” she said.

Rejecting arguments that he stood for autonomy, Ms. Narain said it was the power of the UGC to decide whether a degree is recognised or not and no VC can challenge that.

However, A N Mishra, DU’s Executive Council member, who is a strong supporter of the VC and the FYUP, said Mr. Singh’s resignation was unfortunate.

“The VC was forced to take such a decision for defending the University’s autonomy. This is the beginning of the fall of the University. This is unfortunate that somebody has to resign to protect the autonomy of the university,” he said.

Mr. Mishra said that their fight to protect the academic freedom of the university will continue.

Support for the Vice Chancellor also came from Madhu Kishwar, a journalist-activist, who said the HRD Ministry was putting pressure on Mr. Singh to resign his post.

After a meeting with Mr. Singh, she claimed that he authorised her to tell the media that he has not resigned.

Ms. Kishwar, a self-confessed admirer of Narendra Modi, said the developments in the university will be the biggest blot on the new government which has been self-inflicted.

Welcoming the resignation, Delhi University Students Union President Aman Awana said the VC had made FYUP a personal issue and adopted a stubborn attitude. He should have instead accepted the demand for a three-year course.


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