The UGC has issued a letter and made its online portal active allowing colleges to apply for autonomous status. Autonomy will enable these colleges to design their own courses, fee structure and manage admissions and results independently.
Encouraging the colleges to apply for autonomous status, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had rolled out guidelines in 2016. Following which the University of Delhi pushed its colleges for the same.
Going a step ahead in the same direction, UGC has now issued a letter informing the colleges that they can now apply for autonomy through its online portal.
To give a boost to colleges seeking autonomy, UGC has made its portal active on its official website. The application form for the same has also been issued on the website.
Autonomous status will provide colleges the freedom to pull away from the rules and guidelines of the University and exercise its choice in forming its own course structure, fee structure, academic staff and admissions among others. It will also become a separate entity with regards to results and marksheets too.
Terming this move towards privatization as “disastrous”, the teachers and students had expressed their distress through strikes and rallies over the last year. This move will affect the students willing to apply for various colleges under the University.
Media reports suggest that this will also lead to lack of fund support from the University to the colleges and a significant hike in fees of the students will also be observed.

Feature Image Credits: UGC
Shreya Agrawal
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In an emergent meeting held on 3rd July, the Hindu College Staff Association (HCSA) passed a unanimous resolution to remove the officiating Principal, Dr. Anju Srivastava, Dr. Ashok Mittal, and Chairman of Governing Body, Mr. S.N.P. Punj.

In the press release, the Staff Association has requested the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi (DU) to take the administration of the college from Hindu Education Trust to be changed into a university-run college. They have also appealed the Vice Chancellor to expand the Governing Body (GB) by bringing in more academics and teachers of the university.

HCSA has stated that it will approach authorities deemed appropriate by the executive to inform them of the tactics employed by the Chairman for his past moves for acquiring autonomy and a ‘Deemed University’ status. HCSA will not be restricted just to the Vice Chancellor, Delhi University, University Grants Commission Chairperson, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Prime Minister’s Office.

In 2016, Chairman S.N.P. Punj had written to IAS Mr. Tarun Bajaj and Mr. Brijesh Pandey of Prime Minter’s Office seeking expansion and re-structuring of the college into The School of Sciences, School of Languages, and School of Social Sciences. In the letter, he proposed to start professional programs like B.Sc Microbiology, B.Sc Nanoscience, B.A. in Financial Services, B.A. in International Relations, and eight others on a self-financing basis. Some fundamental level courses like Environment and Public Health, Mind and Behaviour, and Governance and Citizenship were also suggested.  According to his plan, a chain of colleges would have opened in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab under the Hindu College banner.

The matter escalated for the HCSA when it was found that the Chairman had applied to the Prime Minister’s Office for executive intervention to convert the college into a deemed university last year, which would speed up the process of expanding the brand name. The proposal was undertaken without the knowledge, consent, and mandate of the staff council and other GB members.

The President and Secretary of the HCSA have been threatened in the past with show cause notices for protesting against the proposed sale of the college to the highest bidder by the GB. Such steps were bound to lead to higher fees, more expensive hostels, lower academic standards, and dilution of constitutional equal opportunity norms.

In conversation with DU Beat, Professor Atul Gupta, Assistant Professor of Commerce, and Secretary of the Staff Association commented, “The teachers have been protesting against autonomy for two years and the Principal and the Chairman of the Governing Body have kept them in the dark. They are ready to sell the college and use the Hindu College brand name to earn money at the cost of students and teachers. My only appeal is to the students of the University to join the dharna from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hindu College premises because this is the time to safeguard our colleges from getting prvitised.”

Kawalpreet Kaur, President of All India Students’ Association (AISA) Delhi, has vouched for AISA’s full support to Hindu College professors and their demands. She has claimed that the Principal and GB Chairman lied to the students and professors and secretly colluded with the government, it is completely illegal and unfair that important stakeholders were left out and not consulted, she remarked.

The HCSA will be sitting on the dharna for seven working days starting 4th July. If the authorities fail to concede to the demands, the HCSA will escalate the method of protest. On the last day of the dharna, a press conference will be held. A campaign on social media by the college has already begun under the hashtag, #SmashAutonomy.


Feature Image Credits: Hindu College Staff Association

Prachi Mehra

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In an attempt to reform higher education, the central Government today announced a complete overhaul of the apex higher education regulator- University Grants Commission (UGC), repeal of the UGC Act, 1951 to adopt a fresh legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

The new Higher Education Commission of India is meant to focus only on the academic part of the universities. Finances would be under the direct jurisdiction of the ministry, according to the draft. 

The HECI Act, 2018 is expected to be pitched in the Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session. The Ministry of Human Resource Development will be uploading the draft of the act on its website to be vetted by the public and for inviting feedback. 

Dr.Rajib Ray, the President of Delhi University Teachers’ Association was very  critical about the overhaul of the UGC and told DU Beat that, “It is very unclear that how this step will address the need of higher education in a better way.” He informed DU Beat that DUTA will be holding a meeting on 3rd July to deliberate further on the draft. He raised his concerns over the absence of representation of SC/ST/OBC/PwD/women in the twelve membered commission.

Dr. Nandita Narain of DUTA in a conversation with DU Beat correspondent alleged that the aim of overhauling UGC is an attempt to corporatise education sector.

In a conversation with DU Beat, Mr. Saket Bahuguna, the media convener of ABVP said that “This draft aims to bring reforms in the field of higher education. The ABVP will discuss the draft and propose the recommendations to the MHRD, once it is out for public feedback”

Educationists, stakeholders, and others can furnish their comments and suggestions by July 7, 2018, until 5 pm.

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express.

Sandeep Samal

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On 6th June 2018, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) organised the ‘Jansampark’ programme, informing citizens and making them aware of the problems that DU teachers face, with government paying no attention to their demands.

Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on Wednesday organised the ‘Jansampark’ programme, with teachers and students participating in large numbers outside five metro stations namely Vishwavidyalaya, Rajiv Chowk, Mandi House, ITO, and Central Secretariat.

“This Action Programme was organised to create awareness among the general public about massive problems that teachers of Delhi University were grappling with and finding no solutions to their miseries, teachers had to go on evaluation boycott,” said DUTA in a press release.

People were informed by the teachers and student activists about the sufferings that an average teacher has to undergo on a daily basis. More than 4000 teaching posts are lying vacant in the University of Delhi (DU). Despite the high court order directing the colleges to fill all teaching posts, the University has failed to do so.  The UGC letter dated 5th May 2018 directed the University to change the teaching roster to department-wise and if the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) does not withdraw the letter, the 4000 ad-hoc teachers teaching against these vacant positions are at a risk of being displaced in the beginning of next semester in July.

For the past ten years, teachers have been denied promotions. This has led to a sense of disillusionment amongst young teachers. The retired teachers of the Varsity and karamcharis are being denied pensions. The government is coming up with plans to privatise the higher education institutions through autonomous colleges and graded autonomy. General public was educated about how privatisation will make public education out of the reach of poor people, harming the interest of underprivileged, minorities, and female students.

On 28 March, 2018 Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and the Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) organised the “March for Education” from Mandi House to Parliament Street in the national capital against the granting of graded autonomy to 60 universities which would lead to commercialisation and blatant privatisation of public education.

On 9 May 2018 DUTA announced its decision to boycott evaluation of answer sheets in protest against delay in teachers’ appointment and promotion, lack of absorption of ad-hoc teachers, autonomous college scheme and the change in roster policy.

The Jansampark programme had a good reception from the people of Delhi who asked them to intensify their struggle until their demands are met.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives
Disha Saxena

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On 24 May, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) held a protest outside University Grants Commission (UGC) office against the meeting to decide autonomy for St. Stephen’s College and Hindu College. Owing to the protests, UGC dropped the meeting altogether.

DUTA issues press release

Senior UGC Officials informed the DUTA President today morning that the item on granting autonomy to St. Stephen’s and Hindu College has been dropped from the agenda of the meeting”, DUTA issued in its press release. It added, that “this deferral is, however, no guarantee against the Government’s plan to privatise its premier public-funded higher educational institutions.” Yet, DUTA breathes a sigh of relief with this victory. 

DUTA re-affirmed its emphasis on the varsity’s founding act and the autonomy ascribed in it. It further asserted the unwanted result of “forcing [UGC’s] its new autonomy schemes”; commercialising education and making it exclusionary.

Demands raised by DUTA

Primarily, DUTA demands that autonomy is not forced on colleges or DU. On the other hand, many other issues have also been raised. The immediate withdrawal and reconsideration of the reservation roster, issued by the UGC on 5 March, is one amongst them. DUTA has demanded a reformulation of the said roster by standardising appointments by counting subject-wise departments (and not whole institutions) as units. 

The DUTA demands withdrawal of retrograde recommendations of the 7th Pay Revision notification and the UGC draft regulations. We demand that the Revision of pension and other allowances be announced without further delay.” stated the press release.

Further actions expected

Rajib Ray, DUTA President, affirmed the faith in their fight and reiterated their decision to boycott semester-end evaluation until further notice. A Satyagraha: Mass Hunger Strike has also been organised on Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at Mandi House. DUTA will also write to teachers’ and students’ unions of other universities.

Feature Image Credits: Abha Dev Habib

Image Credits: DUTA


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The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has called for a boycott of evaluation of examination papers scheduled to begin from Wednesday. This call was supported by teachers across the University of Delhi (DU) as teachers did not report at evaluation centres.
According to a press circular that was sent to DU Beat by the President of DUTA Rajib Ray, teachers have been forced to take this extreme step because of the immediate crisis resulting from the speed and aggression with which the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) are moving towards the grant of financial autonomy to several colleges of DU.

The announcement was made ahead of the visit of the University Grants Commission (UGC) officials’ to St. Stephen’s College after its Governing Body (GB) had, in principle, agreed to apply for autonomy. Notably, a UGC team is expected to visit the college on 10th-11th May 2018 for inspection.
The press circular of DUTA, dated 9th May 2018, informed that the teachers’ body shall hold a protest outside St. Stephen’s College on 10th May 2018, 10 a.m. onwards against the visit of the UGC team.

In a phone call conversation, the DU Beat correspondent had asked President Rajib Ray on why such a drastic step is being taken, Ray clarified, “We are planning on such a course of action not only for our struggle against autonomy. There are a lot of reasons.”

He explained that these insidious attempts are part of the larger agenda to privatise and commercialise public-funded education in the country. This will push education out of the reach of a vast majority of students who come from underprivileged sections. The dismembering of DU will also have negative consequences for the working conditions of teachers and “karamcharis”. Colleges of repute who enjoy this status from being a part of DU will become nothing more than teaching shops, according to DUTA.
Ray further explained that the apathy of the University administration towards issues of promotions including counting of past service, appointments, and pension issues is causing unrest among the teachers of the varsity. The teachers’ body now demands that promotion matters be expedited and routine matters dealt with expeditiously, so that the day-to-day academic life of teachers is not affected.

DUTA executive Surendra Kumar told DU Beat, “Crisis we are facing is very high, nature of response is very slow. Whatever decision the DUTA as a body takes, we stand with it.”
Further speaking along similar lines, he told the correspondent, “We need to expand our horizons and, bring the common man of the nation into this struggle against privatisation.”
“As far as my sources are concerned, three colleges, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Hindu College and St. Stephen’s College are on the pipeline of getting autonomy. If the best colleges of the country are going towards this fate, how can the common man afford higher education anymore?” questioned Kumar.

In the aftermath of the University Grants Commission inviting Principals of as many as 30 DU colleges for a workshop to clear their doubts about the move towards greater autonomy, a member of the DU’s Executive Council, Rajesh Jha had spoken on the dangers of privatisation of higher education. Jha had said, “The move ultimately will commercialise the education at a university which is being run on taxpayers’ money to provide equal opportunities to all students.”
Significantly, Principals from a remarkable number of colleges affiliated to DU, including Hindu College, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Daulat Ram College, and Kamala Nehru College amongst others had taken part in the aforementioned workshop.

While the move towards autonomy is expected to give freedom to colleges to design and structure their courses in keeping with the changing methods of teaching, the move is being challenged by various quarters of the students’ and teachers’ community who are under the apprehension that this will eventually place the marginalised sections at a disadvantageous position.

Feature Image Credits: DNA India
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
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42 teachers from St. Stephen’s wrote to UGC and the HRD Ministry to speak out against the idea of autonomy that has been actively rejected by students and teachers alike.
The issue of autonomy has been creating contention in the University of Delhi (DU) for a while now. Teachers and students are largely of the belief that autonomy will lead to a hike in fee and will go against the socialistic structure of the Varsity. Recently Hindu College wrote to the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry demanding to know if seeking autonomy will affect the kind of aid it receives from the Center. Last year over 20 colleges from the University has been invited to attend an orientation programme. The bid to seek autonomy has been led by St. Stephens in the University, with it being one of the first institutions that were rumoured to be attempting to seek autonomy.
Earlier today, 42 permanent faculty members from St. Stephens College wrote to the HRD Ministry actively protesting against the issue of autonomy. On 25th February 2017, Principal John Varghese had claimed that the college will apply for autonomy only when the consultation of the staff council.
According to the UGC Guidelines for Autonomous Colleges-2017, a college gaining autonomy will have the liberty to decide and apply its own courses; modify and redesign the syllabi to suit specific needs, and make it more hands-on to meet the criterion of certain job requirements. This is specifically the reason why DUTA and a large number of students from the varsity have actively protested against autonomy because it comes with the fear of privatisation and seems capitalistic in spirit to many.
A second-year student from St Stephens who chose to stay anonymous said “Autonomy will lead to a lot of problems including fee hike, quality of education deteriorates, additional pressure on teachers because Ad-Hocs will be removed since funding from UGC will be cut. This was a great step taken by our teachers since it allowed reflected the values of the student. Most of us actively challenged the administration when they sought autonomy; however, they paid no heed to us. “

DU Beat has reached out to certain faculty members from St. Stephens College and will update the story once they respond.

Feature Image Credits – Hindustan Times
Kinjal Pandey

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On 28th of March, the much-anticipated People’s March led by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) saw the participation of hundreds of students, workers, and teachers. The demonstrators raised an array of issues like the 70:30 funding formula, Self-financing of courses, Negative Pay and Service Conditions of teachers, attack on Reservation and Loan-funding through Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA), etc. The march commenced from Barakhamba Road at 1:00 PM and finally culminated in a huge public meeting on Parliament Street at 3:30 PM.

Before starting the march Manish Sisodia, who is the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and holds the Education portfolio, addressed the gathering. He expressed solidarity with DUTA and other student and staff associations. “This fight is not just yours or your teachers, it’s our fight. We all get affected by education. Today, from this platform, I pledge my, Aam Aadmi Party’s, and the Delhi government’s support to your cause.” he said.
The demonstration that was peaceful and planned was closely watched by heavy police deployment. Students carried snazzy posters and expressed their anger in emphatic yet lively manner. Predominantly the participation was from girls colleges, like Jesus and Mary College, Kamala Nehru College, Gargi College, and Lady Sri Ram College. Ramjas College, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, and Pannalal Girdharlal Dayanand Anglo Vedic College also participated in huge numbers. Busses stationed outside the colleges picked up students for the march.

Teachers and students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ambedkar University Delhi, Aligarh Muslim University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, and Jamia Millia Islamia also joined the People’s March. The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) members of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) shared the stage with DUTA and other allied groups. Several representatives from political parties addressed the gathering at the end.
Brinda Karat of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sanjay Singh of Aam Admi Party, and Sushmita Dev of Congress. Some protesters were seen perturbed at the presence of politicians in a non-partisan protest.

In a press release, DUTA explained the reason for the protest and wrote, “Government is keen to withdraw public-funding, impose Self-financing models on public-sector universities and colleges and force them to take loans for infrastructure by mortgaging public resources like buildings and land as collaterals. This puts a question-mark on the affordability of higher education. It also manifests itself in the Government’s unwillingness to appoint adequate teachers on a permanent basis, allow fair promotional avenues, and give pensions to retired teachers. University has been hit hard by all these issues in recent times. It has also been forced to start new courses in Journalism, Cyber Security and Strategic Diplomacy on Self-financing mode with teachers appointed on short-term contracts. This has severely affected the quality of teachers and the student-teacher ratio in the university. More than 50% of its faculty across colleges and departments are forced to work on ad-hoc and guest basis, without any job security or service benefits.”

While this powerful and passionate march has evoked awareness about government’s policy amongst DU students, but whether or not this will result in constructive policy change can only be seen with time.


Feature Image Credits: Bhavya Banerjee for DU Beat

Niharika Dabral
[email protected]

The University Grants Commission has renewed their guidelines for autonomy which requires colleges applying for autonomy to reapply. Following this, St. Stephen’s College says that it will reapply for autonomy in the new format. This step taken by the college has been confirmed by the governing body.

Autonomy implies that the college will no longer be affiliated to the University of Delhi and will be free academically as well as monetarily. The college in its 2050 vision states : “By 2025 and certainly by 2050, St. Stephen’s should be an autonomous degree giving University with undergraduate, post-graduate, diploma and doctoral studies, starting maybe as a “deemed to be” university.

The advance of St. Stephen’s towards academic and monetary freedom was brought up in March, 2017. The decision of the administration was protested cumulatively by the students and the faculty members, on grounds that the issue was not consulted with the primary stakeholders before being concluded. The members asked for a transparent procedure and proper consultation with the stakeholders and adjudged that the current procedures contradicted the UGC directive that says,“There are several areas where proper preparation is necessary if college autonomy is to be implemented successfully. These are: faculty preparation, departmental preparation, institutional preparation, and preparation of students and the local community. Such multi-pronged preparation should be completed well before autonomy is sought and conferred upon a college so that no part of the college community is found unprepared for the new responsibility which it is called upon to shoulder.”

The University Grants Commision and the Human Resources Development, have further decided to hold meetings throughout the expanse of the country to dissipate the general misconceptions regarding the issue of autonomy by elucidating the scheme and the monetary concerns.

A senior UGC official spoke to Hindustan Times saying, “A number of colleges fear that autonomy will come with a cut in finances, which is clearly not the case. We want good institutes to opt for autonomy. Colleges with academic and operative freedom, do better than others and possess more credibility.”


Feature Image: DU Beat Archive

Trishala Dutta

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