UGC’s visit to St. Stephen’s College opposed by teachers

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New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on Thursday protested against the UGC team’s visit to St. Stephen’s College to assess the latter’s bid for autonomy status, calling it a violation of the law under which the university was established.

A 10-member team from the University Grants Commission (UGC) visiting the college faced protests by teachers who opposed the autonomy as a ploy for increasing privatisation of higher education.

“The colleges of Delhi University have autonomy conferred by the DU Act 1922, statutes and ordinances, whereas this committee grossly violates that autonomy… In the name of autonomy, the UGC-MHRD is imposing not only disintegration of DU but also privatisation and contractualisation,” Rajesh Jha, an Academic Council member of the university, told IANS.

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Another member of the council, Hansraj Suman, said the college’s decision for autonomy was passed in neither the Academic nor the Executive Council of the varsity.

“The Delhi University gives its constituent colleges academic freedom. St. Stephen’s College already conducts its admissions and appointments differently from the rest of the university colleges, what else does it need the autonomy for,” Suman said.

As per a new framework towards building a “liberalised regime in the education sector”, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in March had decided to grant graded autonomy to a total of 52 universities and eight colleges — not including St. Stephen’s College, the application for which is still underway.

The ‘autonomy’ thus granted will enable the learning institutions the freedom to start new courses, off-campus centres, skill development courses, research parks and any other new academic programmes, while still being under the ambit of the UGC.

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–IANS

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