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At Higher Education Meet, DU Teachers bat for Autonomy

City colleges are adamant that the autonomy of Delhi University should not be compromised under the new National Education Policy. Such views elicited from the constituent colleges were discussed by the university at a meeting on Friday on the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), the body that is slated to replace the University Grants Commission.

The university had divided all its colleges into five clusters and their views on NEP and HECI collated. The deans and directors of all DU faculties and centers were also instructed to hold meetings with staff and send their feedback. These were shared at the April 1 meeting chaired by acting vice-chancellor PC Joshi and attended by Pankaj Arora, director of, Institute of Lifelong Learning, the coordinator between the academic and research departments and the administrative units of DU.

Speaking to TOI, Arora said, “We asked the colleges and departments on March 23 to send us structured responses after organizing them into five clusters, realizing that each college wouldn’t be able to hold a meeting.” He said the responses included teachers’ concerns for the society at large, for students from the marginal sections, and the need to maintain the autonomy of the university in curriculum creation after HECI came up.

Arora added, “DU will discuss these suggestions on April 6 and we will invite institutions in the National Capital Region for the meeting.”The feedback of a college cluster accessed by TOI included teachers’ anxiety about the NEP suggestion on the establishment of a Board of Governors (BOG) to frame all the regulations and vested with absolute power to appoint, promote, demote and remove institutional employees. The feedback said, “This could lead to huge job uncertainty as BOGs would be empowered to govern the institutions free of external interference superseding all existing legislation.”

The teachers suggested that BOG should also “have elected representatives from teaching and non-teaching staff along with other individuals from different walks of life”, similar to DU’s Academic Council and Executive Council. The teachers also felt there should be “a forum above BOG where grievances of the staff and students may be addressed”.

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