Campus Central

Department of English, DU Seeks for “Restoration of Workload”

About 450 teachers from the English Department of DU have signed a petition which seeks intervention by the DUTA president in the hope to restore the workload of the department in light of the proposed UGCF structure which suggests a massive reduction in their functions. Read ahead to find out more.

The Department of English of the University of Delhi (DU) has sent a petition to the President of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), A.K. Bhagi, which has been signed by 444 teachers of the department who are urging the President to intervene and restore the Workload of the English Departments of the varsity. They appealed to the DUTA President to take action on the unprecedented loss of workload that English departments will suffer owing to the Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF) to be implemented from the academic year 2022–23. According to the teachers, they are alarmed by the proposed structures of UGCF which look forward to a massive reduction, almost in the range of one-third of its existing workload, particularly for the English Department only. They believe that this will lead to a loss of livelihood for the hundreds of ad-hoc teachers teaching for years, in the English departments across the University of Delhi.

In the aforementioned petition, teachers have collectively highlighted their concerns pertaining to the removal of English as an option from the Ability Enhancement Compulsory Courses (AECC) paper, removal of the English core papers from BA and B.Com Programme and a situation of crisis in the colleges not offering English Honours or Programme courses since teachers would have no workload without the AECC paper. Further, the UGCF structure suggests a denial of language to the students and violates a laid down and long-standing enabling provision of the University in favor of students coming from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, it neglects that many students had English as not only their medium of education but also their core subject till class 12th. Doing away with the language would take away the unlimited options that the National Education Policy (NEP) suggests. 

Additionally, the UGC draft has categorically recommended compulsory language courses both in English and Indian languages. This recommendation recognizes the importance of English as a language of instruction and communication, especially in advanced stages of education leading to research. Instead of abiding by the spirit of the recommendation, DU has chosen to ignore the same and has refused to allow English to be offered as a language in order to equip them with the requisite skill development for employability.

Anonymous authorities suggest that with the dropping of the AECC component for English, professors will have one massive element of their workload removed causing work to be re-allocated. Now, by trickle effect, some professors will end up with a lesser workload. As the sources suggest, the moment they will not have sufficient work, it will give the admin the reason to fire them because they anyway do not have the funds to pay them adequately, resulting in pay cuts everywhere. This is also the reason why so many colleges and departments have ad-hosts who have been reaching for 10-15 years now but have not received their tenure yet.

In conversation with DU beat, an English teacher from DU enumerated, on the premise of anonymity, that students from different courses were given an option to choose among various language papers like English, Hindi, or Sanskrit but now the thing is not there anymore. The teacher explained that a lot of workloads would get reduced in the sense that one needs a certain number of lectures and tutorials as a part of their workload. The department teaches AECC. Now, for instance, the college has six sections and each section comprises 80-100 students. If there are 6 teachers then each teacher is given the responsibility to take up 4 lectures but with UGCF that goes away. 

If one does not have an ample number of classes to teach then the college would need fewer teachers. Less number of classes would mean less number of teachers. That is the main worry of the English teachers across the department.

English teacher from DU

Further, the teacher stated that from the point of view of a student if one looks at it, a lot of students come from a background where they did not have English as their main subject or were not very good at it. These days, whether someone likes it or not, English gives an edge. If a student loses an opportunity to improve their language then this may affect their employability. 

Besides this, the teacher informed me that in the Discipline Specific Elective (DSE) papers, there has been a further reduction. The syllabus of the papers has been reduced and they will be offered for lesser credits. They explained that less credit would mean less number of classes because of the lesser syllabus. This not only reduces the workload but also impacts the students.

Say for instance, if I take up the paper of Literary criticism or literary theory, the paper in itself is such a dense paper that it was already very difficult to teach under the short semester system. This was because ideas take time to develop and students need time to understand these ideas. Now, we have to just do it and students get what they get and they don’t get a lot of it.

English teacher at DU

The teacher elucidated that under UGCF, the foundation of the students would weaken because they will be doing such a dense paper for lesser credits and not know anything about it at the end. Hence, this would not only hamper the workload but also result in a loss of jobs. Loss of jobs of the teachers along with the loss of future prospects of the students. 

It will be a loss for both teachers and students which would affect both their present and the future.

English teacher at DU

Moreover, the teacher expressed their wishes that either aforesaid gets rolled back or the University gains an understanding that it will be a loss for both the teachers and the students and this is going to hamper the teaching-learning environment. Because of such a loss, varsity should continue with providing English as an option for the students across all the departments. 

Earlier, we all thought, we were very hopeful, that no sort of workload would be lost, no sort of teaching would be lost in that sense but it’s hard to tell now what can be done? Whether it can be rolled back or the university develops an understanding.

English teacher at DU

Furthermore, the teachers have appealed to the President of DUTA to intervene urgently and ensure that English as an AECC course and as a Core Language course in BA and B.Com Program courses remain intact. As per them, this will protect the existing workload of the English department, while also crucially safeguarding the livelihood of hundreds of ad-hoc teachers working in the department across the University.

Read Also: ‘UGCF Approval Initiates Protest by DUTA

Featured Image Credits: NDTV

Ankita Baidya

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Ankita is a journalism student whose life is unimaginable without traveling. Curious and over-enthusiastic, she is always onto something new. If you want to find her, look out for the coffee shops.