The ongoing talks of Sri Venkateswara College being dismembered from DU and shifting its affiliation to AU have been in the headlines and a cause of concern for some time now. With DUTA officially siding with the SVC staff association in their resolve against the fragmentation of Delhi University and the ongoing protests by the student body, the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) as well, has released an official statement in solidarity with the fraternity of SVC, calling upon teachers and students to unitedly fight against NEP.
DTF, in solidarity with the teachers of Sri Venkateswara College (SVC), expresses its concerns in synonymy with the latter’s protest against the attempts of the Andhra government to press for the merger of the college with Andhra University. DTF President Nandita Narain and Secretary Abha Dev Habib go on to shed light on how the excellence achieved by the college owing to it being a part of the University of Delhi (DU) must not be undermined.
The Andhra government has made a plea to the Centre to amend the 2009 UGC order disallowing the jurisdiction of a university beyond the state by which it is established. DTF further goes on to point out how the move is driven by the host of steps taken recently as part of the government policy toolkit to acquire brand value through the ranking framework to be competitive in the market that would be determining for successful business in education.
DU planning offshore campuses is driven by the same objective of reshaping itself as a business enterprise and has nothing to do with revamping education. The IoE scheme, which granted this freedom, for select universities had too narrow a base. The freedom to do business therefore has been extended to the management of every university and college under NEP 2020.
“This is also a forewarning of the dismemberment of colleges from Delhi University unless DU wants to make some wholly a part of itself and the college managements agree to cede powers to the BoG of Delhi University. The freedom granted to BoGs is unlikely to disallow takeovers, mergers and acquisitions.”
-Statement in Solidarity with the fraternity of SVC, DTF
Further outlining the existing laws to prevent such happenings and the effect NEP will have on them, DTF expresses its concerns on how the protections that we enjoy today from the UGC Act and DU Act from such takeovers will become a thing of the past as NEP gets rolled out. In particular, with the introduction of the provision under clause 19.2, “There shall be overarching legislation that will supersede any contravening provisions of other earlier legislation”.
In conclusion, DTF states that the Andhra Government need not plead any longer over any regulation for NEP’s “Light but Tight” regulatory framework will only require persuading the college management. The high ranking of the college will ensure such a possibility sooner than later.
“We fear that this move may be driven by and find support from the NEP recommendations to universities to have offshore campuses. The host of steps taken in the recent past as part of the Central Government policy is pushing institutions to acquire brand value through a specious ranking framework in order to be competitive in the market for edu-business.”
-Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer, DUTA
DU Beat reached out to the SVC Student Union in the same matter. The entire students and staff fraternity of SVC has been disheartened ever since the initiation of the move. The seriousness of the issue is what has brought the entire staff and students under a consensus who have been unitedly protesting against the move.
“Some prominent teachers of our college have offered to resign in case any of such development takes place. The Telugu students of our college are also not willing to get the college affiliated with AU, hence the issue of catering to the needs of Andhra students is not justified. The students, especially the first years are quite a bit disappointed with the move, and it is due to the ongoing COVID-19 protocols that we are unable to assemble inside the college campus to show our disregard. However, the students union on its part, started the protest on online platforms yesterday, and I was quite overwhelmed by the response that our struggle was addressed with.”
-Anand Devendran, Acting President, Students Union, SVC
The online Twitter storm, dated 25th February 2021 has been quite a success with students from other colleges joining in as well in large numbers. #Venky_belongs_to_DU and #VenkyIsDU have been trending ever since, thus bringing the required attention to the issue. “The level of support that we got yesterday has proved that the entire DU stands behind Venky and if the future developments are not in our favour, we will resort to physical dharna and protests. I want to reiterate that all the students and staff bodies are united against this move and we will ensure that SVC stays in DU only,” added Anand.
Featured Image Credits: Siksha