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DU Vice-Chancellor can alter First-semester Syllabus

A proposal was discussed to authorise DU Vice-Chancellor to modify the syllabus across the semesters. However, subsequent protests by teacher representatives to the EC have limited the authority to the first semester.


In late July, the Standing Committee on Academic Matters of Delhi University recommended that all the courses under Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF) be left open to modifications. It further recommended that the DU Vice-Chancellor be authorised to “make suitable modifications” and to “frame the guidelines for mode of instructions or assessment and examination”. These recommendations were discussed in the Academic Council (AC) meeting, held in August.

However, these suggestions were received with fierce backlash from the teachers across the varsity. Various academics felt that the recommendations would give the VC unprecedented power, indicating that the varsity is unprepared to handle the shift to the four-year undergraduate programmes. 

“With the freedom that they are trying to give to the Vice Chancellor, the university is admitting that it is not ready for the four-year undergraduate programme. It is admitting that it is a fluid situation and that we do not know the trajectory for the four years. They are admitting that syllabus and courses may change from time to time.”

 – Abha Dev Habib, Physics teacher, Miranda House, former member, Executive Council, in conversation with Careers360

Academics had argued that such a proposal was highly unacademic as it allowed the VC to make changes without being verified and ratified by the committees- the Executive Council and the Academic Council. It would be in direct violation of many statutory provisions of the University. In addition, the academics claimed that this fluidity leaves students uncertain on their syllabus, which is highly uncharacteristic for a university like Delhi University.

The proposal had been previously rejected at a meeting by the AC on 3 August. However, it was included in the agenda for the meeting on Thursday, 18 August, by the VC’s office. The discussion by the EC was met by opposition from teacher representatives to the EC. Facing this backlash, the power was limited to only the first semester. The Executive Council and Academic Council will still retain their power of syllabus modification.

Various DU faculty forums, including the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) and the Academics for Actions and Development (AAD), criticised the decision, citing aforementioned concerns such as the uncertainty among the students regarding their own course.

In Thursday’s meeting, the EC also approved the syllabus for the first semester under the new UGCF. Nonetheless, this is the first time that only the first semester syllabus has been approved for the academic year instead of the syllabus for the whole year.

Read Also : DU Releases Undergraduate Curriculum Framework 2022

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Siddharth Kumar

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