Delhi University and FYUP: Is VC to be blamed for current stalemate?

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Dinesh Singh
New Delhi, June 25: Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh's resignation in the backdrop of ongoing face-off between University Grant Commission (UGC) and Delhi University (DU), a fountainhead of nation's intellectual capital, raises some pertinent questions. And the most important one is, who exactly is responsible for putting the future of lakhs of DU students' in limbo?

The VC is accusing UGC for encroaching the autonomy of university while other stakeholders are telling their version of the story. But the point is, why this matter was not resolved when the whole idea was being implemented last year?

Before drawing any conclusions, we should first peep into some of the controversial decisions of Mr Singh. He was severely criticised for introducing semester system in three year programme after taking over the post from Professor Deepak Pental in 2010. In addition to this, according to an RTI report, money allocated for providing logical strength to students (around 172cr) was diverted under the pretext of buying laptops. He stocked another controversy when he was selected for Padma Shri award in January this year. Selection for this prestigious award was taken as pro quid quo approach of UPA for FYUP.

His record as head of institution has been questioned time and again

The credibility of incumbent VC was proved when DUTA president Nandita Narain said, "The awarding of the Padma Shri to the Prof. Singh is but a carrot to other V-Cs. It's inciting them to transgress democratic decision making, academic freedom in order to further the UPA's agenda of increasing enrolment without spending on additional teachers and infrastructure."

His record as head of institution has been questioned time and again. According to unconfirmed reports, the VC is also known for doing crony politics in the university corridors.

Last year, FYUP created major uproar at the time of admission. Students and teachers were dead against it because of lack of cohesion and rigour in the curriculum. Every year over 2 lakh students apply for 54,000 seats in DU.

FYUP was planned out on the lines of US education system just to add quality to our existing education system. At a time when US president Barack Obama has reiterated that on knowledge front America is getting tough competition from Indians, what is the rationale behind aping their system? Moreover, DU produced so many luminaries who excelled in their field under three year plan itself.

And see the merit of FYUP under which whole first year is dedicated to read basics of 8-9th class. Isn't it a futile exercise? Moreover, the students have an option to exit after second and third year after which they will be awarded the diploma degree. But the question here is, will that diploma degree fetch any jobs to them?

It is good to improvise the existing system but it should be done with proper planning, not in haste. Why Singh did not consult all the stakeholders and took everyone on board when he was so confident about the success of the four year programme. The UGC is also equally responsible for this stalemate. Why it didn't vociferously resist the move last year itself?

It seems that the change of master at Centre has given them confidence to take cudgel against DU.

People want answer from these stakeholders who have maligned the sanctity of institution. It is astonishing that nobody talks about other problems of DU. Reports say that around 3000-4000 teaching posts remain vacant in the University, why? The hostel facility, classroom spaces are major concern among students. Rather than squabbling over petty issues policy makers should concentrate on putting existing institution in place. Why are not they trying to find solutions for these problems?

The current stalemate proves how Indian education system is at the mercy of the whims and fancies of policy makers. In this ego clash between UGC and DU, uncertainty looms over the future of thousands of students who wanted to be a part of the acclaimed University.

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