The Faculty of Arts approved the semester system in 11 departments even as the English and the Germanic and Romance Studies departments asked for more time to prepare their new syllabi. The hurried manner of the approval has left teachers and professors sour. “There was no scope of discussion in the meeting of the Faculty of Arts and everything was passed in just little over an hour,” said Shaswati Mazumdar, from the Germanic and Romance Studies department.
Lecturers (part of Joint Action Body-JAB) from Hansraj College, Ramjas College, SGTB Khalsa, Ramjas College and St. Stephens have held classes in the garden next to the Vice- Regal Lodge to oppose the new system. A signature campaign for the same purpose has also been launched. The main reason for the dissent remains the same-the teachers’ views about the semester system are being either ignored or diplomatically sidestepped by Mr. Singh.
Teachers are roping in students, alumnae and parents of prospective students, to add momentum to their protests. Despite the High Court order giving the new system the green light last November, most teachers insist that the semester system has done no good where introduced and extending it to the remaining courses will only lower academic standards. During the general body meeting of the Departments of Economics, English and Philosophy, teachers felt that course content is being diluted to accommodate the new system and conducting exams bi-annually will not be feasible.
JAB met the president of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Mr. Puniya, and apprised him of the adverse effects the system will have on quota students. “Introduction of the OBC quota is problematic in view of the semester system as teachers will not get enough time to help the weaker students,” Mrs. Shefali of Khalsa College said.
In the footsteps of their North Campus counterparts, Kamla Nehru and Venkateswara College saw localized protests against the semester system. LSR did not have an all-out strike, although a protest was carried out.
DU’s attempt to implement a no-work-no-pay policy in at least 12 of its colleges faced stiff resistance for the first time last Wednesday. A demonstration held by the teachers of Maharaja Agrasen College against the cut turned ugly after the principal was manhandled by the teachers.
Meanwhile, a division bench of the Delhi High Court directed teachers of Kalindi College to call off their strike and reprimanded Delhi University for not taking swift action against the teachers on strike since September last year. The order came in the wake of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ramit Garg, alleging that various teachers went on strike seeking action against Karishma Vaid, students’ union president after Vaid and her mother lodged a criminal complaint against Meena Anand, one of the teachers.
Students are still divided on the new system -some are indifferent, while others strongly opposethe idea. There seems no sign of an end to this impasse as students busy themselves with end-of-session rituals.