Delhi University’s strategic plan set ambitious goals for the next 25 years, but the document was found to be plagiarised from several reputed international universities, leading to a halt in the discussions.
On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, the Academic Council (AC) met for its 1017th emergent meeting to discuss the Delhi University Strategic Plan 2022–47, which aimed to enter the ranks of the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings by 2047 by introducing various initiatives. However, a day prior to the commencement of the meeting, teachers from the Democratic Teacher’s Front (DTF) alleged that the document was ‘plagiarised’ from various international universities’ strategic plans, including Ohio State University, the University of Sheffield, Piedmont Technical College, Kenya’s Friends College Kaimosi, Meghalaya’s University of Science and Technology, and also IGNOU. The teachers had also alleged that the plan would lead to the commercialization and privatisation of public institutions, accompanied by fee hikes.
Amid these allegations, the Academic Council meeting discussed all concerns, and the Strategic Plan has been sent back for revision. DU’s official statement disclosed the meeting decisions,
“The members presented their views and suggestions, describing the strategic plan as important for the future. After listening to the suggestions, the Vice Chancellor asked the strategic plan committee to seriously consider them again,” the statement reads. The Vice Chancellor has also said that editors and linguistics will be consulted in the drafting committee to address the linguistic nuances.
Members of the Academic Council criticised the lack of effort while formulating the document. Some members have also defended the proven plagiarism callouts.
It is extremely unfortunate that a plagiarised document has become the foundation of DU’s Strategic Plan 2022–47. Plagiarism in any form is totally unacceptable, and the fact that it is being promoted by the top authorities of DU by tabling it for discussion is absolutely shocking. -said Mithuraaj Dhusiya, an elected AC member.
The strategic plan devised several initiatives that would foster global recognition for DU, including cross-university collaborations, academia-industry collaborations, developing research centres, and modernising facilities. In a 20-page letter to the Vice Chancellor, the DTF criticised the lack of thought for local context and the subsequent speculative privatisation of the central university and wrote,
The strategic plans of other institutions whose realities are completely different from ours have been presented as ours. We know that most of these institutions have been forced to depend on the market for funding, and our uncritical acceptance of the same underscores the design to conform to the demands of global edu-business.
Vikas Gupta highlighted another concern: “The draft does not mention terms like reservation and secularism at all. The term ‘Dalit’ figures only once, and that too in connection with indigenous knowledge. Besides this, the term ‘caste’ has been used only once, while this continues to be the most important social phenomenon of our personal and public lives to reckon with.”
Featured image source: Hindustan Times