In a flash protest, the DUTA raised several demands criticising the privatisation policies of the government such as the loan-granting system under the Higher Education Funding Agency, release of pensions, the removal of the Dyal Singh College’s Chairman, and so on.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) raised some crucial issues regarding the higher education funding policies of the central government in its flash protest in front of the Vice Chancellor Lawns at 11 p.m on 27th September 2018. It was protesting against the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), University Grants Commission (UGC), and University of Delhi (DU) were supposed to sign, in order to access loans from the Higher Education Funding Agency. According to a recent report in The Indian Express, the MoU reportedly calls for the universities to “ensure gradual annual increase in the user charges/fee charged by it for various courses and facilities.” This essentially reflects that Universities would have to generate 30% of their funds through their self-financing.
Rajib Ray, President of DUTA, speaking to DU Beat said, “The tripartite MoU basically gives you (the University) a target for generating revenues and a huge segment of the revenue will come from the user charges and that is, the students. And if anybody is adversely affected, it is the students.”
DUTA was also protesting against the changes in the roster according to a 5th March letter by the UGC that reportedly led to a decrease in the number of reserved seats posts for teachers; a release of pensions for teachers who have retired; promotions for the non-permanent teaching faculty (currently DU has the most number of non-permanent faculty members at 60% of the total teachers); and the removal of the Dyal Singh College Chairman, Amitabh Sinha, over the recent fracas that happened there (the Chairman had shut down the college 24th September to hold a Governing Body meeting that had led to a clash between the students and teachers with the ‘private bouncers’ of the Chairman.) Teachers from Dyal Singh college, Mr. Sachin N and P.K. Parihar, speaking at the protest spoke against the way the Chairman of the college had suspended the Principal of the college in a gross misuse of his powers.
Several students from All India Student’s Association (AISA) and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were also present in the protest, extending their support. Kawalpreet Kaur, the President of AISA in Delhi University told DU Beat, “The MoU is against the idea of the public funded university. The idea of making education a loan-based commodity is very dangerous because students from marginalised backgrounds won’t be able to afford (the fees). Also, the Chairman of Dyal Singh College, who is a part of a non-academic body, is setting a dangerous precedent by not letting the students and teachers come into the college and by harassing the Principal of the college.” Mayank, an activist from SFI also told this correspondent that the SFI was demanding the removal of the college Chairman because it was against the “culture of hooliganism that he (the Chairman) was spreading.” Mayank also demanded that the Chairman should apologise for the alleged manhandling of the students and the teachers on 24th September by his “hired bouncers”.
An Executive Council meeting of the University supposed to be held that day to deliberate on the issue of MoU. Previously, the MHRD had written to the University to sign the MoU, failing which the funding from UGC would be withheld.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat.