In a clarion call of distress and solidarity, DUTA on Friday gathered professors against the governmental lapses that they allege have been affecting the livelihood of many.

On the 16th of February, professors from all over Delhi University gathered at the Delhi Vidhan Sabha to protest against the administrative inconsistencies plaguing various colleges. Alongside a call to suspend classes, the Dharna was organised by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association. Their official demands include the release of salaries and other dues as well as the withdrawal of Delhi Higher Education Minister Atishi’s letters to the central government. 

Atishi had earlier in December written to the Union Education Minister, pointing out the discrepancies in 12 colleges that are funded by the Delhi Government. The aforementioned colleges have been operating since the 1990s; reportedly, however, the issues at play today started emerging as a result of the advent of two different governments at the central and state levels around 5 years ago. 

In a conversation with DuBeat, Dr. Abha Dev Habib underlines the structural origin and nature of the problem of the withholding of grants in a centre-state conflict. She alleges that this has been leading to interference in the traditional procedural approach of the governing bodies of these colleges, which was earlier adopted to reduce bureaucratic red-tapism. 

“To punish salaried individuals for institutional lapses and to starve close to 2000 people is criminal,” she says. Of note, in addition, is the Vice-Chancellor’s response to the Minister’s letters, which makes no mention of addressing the state of the employees.

Earlier in 2022, DUTA President Professor Bhagi reported to ANI that the problem had persisted for quite some time and pointed to the existence of a deficit of 85 to 90 crores in the 12 colleges funded by the Delhi government. While ANI had already identified the potential of this snowballing into a confrontation between the AAP in the state and the BJP at the centre, Dr. Habib maintains that the brunt of such conflict cannot be taken out on employees. 

The solution endorsed involves the University Grants Commission (UGC) completely taking over the 12 colleges. 

Read Also : Inquiry to be Launched Against 12 DU Colleges Funded by the Delhi Government

Featured Image Credits : PTI

Deevya Deo

[email protected]

The alliance formed by the teachers’ associations aims at “reclaiming the DUTA from the cronies of the ruling dispensation and defend public higher education.”

10 Delhi University teachers’ organisations and 4 independent teachers have come together to form the Democratic United Teachers’ Alliance (D.U.T.A) to contest the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) 2023 polls. Ahead of the elections, which will witness over 10,000 academics of the University casting their votes to elect the leadership, the alliance has announced Dr. Aditya Narayan Misra as the joint candidate for the post of DUTA president. The teachers’ organisations have joined forces to challenge the BJP-RSS affiliated National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF) in the upcoming DUTA elections scheduled for September 27. The DUTA elections are expected to witness a tough contest between the D.U.T.A and the NDTF, which emerged victorious in 2021 after a 24-year hiatus. AK Bhagi was elected as the DUTA President, defeating his nearest contender, Abha Dev Habib by a margin of 1382 votes.

The Democratic United Teachers Alliance, formed with the aim of “defending public education by reclaiming DUTA”,  is a coalition of multiple groups including Congress’s Indian National Teachers’ Congress (INTEC), AAP’s Academic for Action and Development Teachers Association (AADTA), the Left-leaning Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), and various independent teachers’ associations such as the Common Teachers’ Front (CTF), Delhi Teachers’ Initiative (DTI), Independent Teachers’ Front for Social Justice (ITF-SJ), and Samajwadi Shikshank Manch (SSM) and the Voice of DU Adhocs.

There is an immediate and serious need to reclaim the DUTA as a teachers’ collective that works in defence of public-funded education and rights of teachers and students in the forthcoming DUTA elections,” – the joint statement by D.U.T.A read.

At a press conference on August 25, held at the Press Club of India, Prof. Nandita Narain, former DUTA President said that the current NDTF leadership had turned the union office into a “department of the administration which slaughtered thousands of good teachers in the ongoing recruitment drive.” While the teachers’ movement in the country looked for guidance and inspiration from DUTA to reclaim the rights of the teachers, the alliance alleged that the DUTA leadership failed thousands of ad-hoc teachers in their quest for permanent jobs after decades of service.

We are here together to safeguard the dignity and security of all teachers. We are here to defend full public funding and build public opinion against the privatisation and other sinister designs of NEP, 2020. We are committed to absorption of all existing ad hoc and temporary teachers and reinstatement of those who have been displaced during the last two years, while protecting the services of those who have already secured permanent appointment.” – read a statement by the teachers’ alliance.

 The Academic Council of Delhi University, in its meeting held on 11.8.2023, reported a letter from the UGC granting approval to DU as a Category 1 – University under the Graded Autonomy Regulation. By permitting the University to function on a self-financing basis, the D.U.T.A alleges that the regulation would pave the way for commercialisation and deprive the University of necessary Government grants for teaching-learning and infrastructure.

Salaries, promotion, and pension will all have to be taken care of through self-financing. No expectations of funds can be kept from either the University Grants Commission or the Government. Will teachers be displaced? Are we handing over the entire University in private hands? Will the character of the University remain what it is?”- commented Prof Narain in the press conference on Friday.

 Prof. Narain, Convener of the Democratic United Teachers’ Alliance, stated that the policy-driven decline in the academic quality of public universities is best demonstrated by the new version of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), which carries a plethora of anti-academic moves to undermine the integrity of various disciplines.

 The DUTA leadership has refrained from raising their voices about the degradation of academic quality due to the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020. A number of academically vacuous courses have been introduced in the name of most Value Added Courses and Skill Enhancement Courses, which add neither to values nor skills, and leave students too exhausted to focus on the core academic disciplines. On the other hand, internal assessment has been increased from 25 to 45%, with a new component of continuous assessment. This, given the massive reduction in teaching-tutorial-practical time, is an academic fraud. None of these changes were brought after consultation with teachers.” – mentioned the statement released on August 25.

 The statement by D.U.T.A highlights the concern that self-financing by institutions will be undertaken by loans, which will be repaid through increasing student fees for “commercially viable courses” and discarding “uneconomic” ones.

Massive fee hikes will follow, exacerbating the exclusionary tendencies that have been already initiated by the CUET process. Even if the constitutionally mandated provision of reservation is retained (though it finds no mention in the NEP document), students belonging to deprived sections will be excluded through the back door of high fees.” – added the statement.

 Claiming this as “the death of higher education, DUTA joint candidate Dr. Aditya Narayan Misra, of the AAP-affiliated Academic for Action and Development Delhi Teachers’ Association (AADTA), urged teachers to join hands and fight for the withdrawal of the National Education Policy,2020.

Despite our dissent, the fees for certain courses under the Law Faculty were approved at nearly Rs.12.5 lakhs, the same courses which were being taught at a fee of Rs 5000-7000. How is this “greater autonomy?”. This should not simply be a reporting item that is brought and told to us. The students’ future depends on it, and the teachers’ future depends on it- why are such decisions being imposed without due discussion? The DUTA has failed us. It is being used as an extension to privatise and commercialise higher education.” – remarked Misra, a three-time president of DUTA.

 Clause 19.2 on Graded Autonomy in the NEP 2020, which envisages that all public colleges and universities will become “independent, self-governing institutions” for the governance of which “a Board of Governors (BoG) shall be established consisting of a group of highly qualified, competent and dedicated individuals”, has also been opposed by the alliance. They fear that the BoGs will govern institutions without external interference and make decisions concerning the “incentive structure” unilaterally without reference to UGC regulations.

The Board of Governors will have the complete autonomy to establish new courses and curriculum and hire and fire as per will, with recruitment of contractual teachers and foreign faculty being given more importance. Post independence, we established institutions like the D-School, the IITs, the IIMs, and the English, Commerce and Sociology Departments – but we were always self-sufficient in devisiong and teaching our own curriculum. Why do we need foreign faculty now? They will display the foreign teachers for 4 months and use it as a tactic to raise fees. We are witnessing the biggest privatisation deal of India.” – said Misra, who has been teaching Political Science at DU since 1986.

Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) Secretary, Abha Dev Habib, remarked that the reluctance of the DU administration to form the governing bodies of colleges administered by the Delhi Government will formalise the dependence of public higher educational institutions on private corporates.

 DU authorities have packed the Academic Council (AC) subcommittee for academic affairs with NDTF members whose only role is to subvert statutory powers of Committees of Courses (CoCs), Departments and Faculties, and impose unacademic changes in syllabi in keeping with their agenda of saffronisation. The DTF teachers of DU have decided that public higher education cannot be redeemed if the current leadership is successful in its aim of converting the teachers’ collective into a patronage dispensing tool to further NEP through undemocratic demobilisation.” – remarked Habib.

Alleging that NDTF-led DUTA remained silent during the mass displacement of ad hoc teachers in the University, the alliance asserted that the teachers’ union’s claims that displaced teachers are being absorbed elsewhere are not supported by transparent data.

What is most reprehensible is that instead of taking up the cause of all teachers, the leadership has been selective and discriminate. It is the first time in the history of DUTA that a large number of teachers are afraid of displeasing their own elected representatives,” the statement added.

 The alliance claimed that the outgoing (present) DUTA committee has been hand-in- glove in furthering anti-academic and anti-teacher moves. It has also undermined the functioning of wider trade unions of teachers such as FEDCUTA that are fighting against privatisation and for the restoration of the old pension scheme.

 The D.U.T.A. is committed to ensuring absorption of all existing ad hoc and temporary teachers, reinstatement of those displaced in open positions, and protection of services of all permanent teachers, with counting of past services at all levels of promotion and restoration of the Old Pension Scheme, and also for the protection of service conditions of Librarians and teachers of Physical Education. It will launch an effective struggle to strengthen public-funded education by demanding a rollback of NEP2020, Graded Autonomy and all such attempts to privatise our public universities.” – the statement by D.U.T.A concluded.

Prof. Abha Dev Habib said that this unprecedented unity of different groups comes in the light of the “gravest challenges confronting the teachers, students and non-teaching employees of DU”.

There has been mass displacement of serving temporary and ad hoc teachers with the active connivance of the NDTF leadership and especially in institutions helmed by those who are part of the ruling dispensation. The institutional murder of Samarveer was possibly the abysmal low to which the state of affairs in DU have descended.”, Habib, a Professor of Physics at Miranda House, commented.

 The statement by the alliance claimed that 80% of serving ad hoc teachers have been displaced in the interviews held recently, most of them in colleges headed by the Principals close to the ruling dispensation.

 I have been part of Delhi University all my life. I have been an ad-hoc teacher and was thrown out so I understand how it feels. I can connect to the pain of the people who have been ousted. Regularisation of ad-hoc teachers would be one of our main agendas.” – mentioned Misra, a professor at Dyal Singh College.

 On Friday, Delhi Finance Minister Atishi expressed displeasure over the non-release of Rs.100 crore to Delhi Government’s 12 fully-funded DU colleges after a representation was submitted by Dr.Aditya Narain Misra and DU Executive Council (EC) members Seema Das and Rajpal Singh appraising her of the delay.

 On 28th June 2023, I approved the release of Rs 100 crore as the second quarterly grant was announced. But this fund has not reached colleges yet despite one and a half months having lapsed. The faculty and the ministerial staff of these colleges cannot suffer due to administrative technicalities and the finance department should have a facilitatory approach over these financial issues. Hence, the funds should be released without any further delay.”- Atishi said in an official statement.


 D.U.T.A Press Conference held on August 25 – D.U.T.A. Press Conference, Save Public Funded Education

 Featured Image Credits: India Today

 Read also: After a Three-Year Hiatus, Delhi University Students’ Union Elections Are Back – DU Beat – Delhi University’s Independent Student Newspaper


Manvi Goel

[email protected]

While the University Officials work on finalizing the dates, student leaders have started preparing for their election campaigns.

The student elections at Delhi University are scheduled to take place in September. The Delhi University Students Union is the representative body that stands for the majority of colleges and faculties’  students. Aside from this, elections are also  held each year for the students union at every college. The Delhi University Students Union is elected directly by the university’s and its member colleges’  students. Every year, the elections are typically held in August or September. Occurring every four years, it was last held in 2019, and was halted as a result of the Corona virus pandemic and its effects on the academic calendar.

Officials from the university stated earlier in July that election preparations will begin as soon as the university finished the admissions process for the upcoming session. Although the date has not yet been confirmed, DU registrar Vikas Gupta stated that it would be announced shortly and that one may anticipate it to happen in the final week of September.

Vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh, who will oversee the election process, named office bearers and members for the central council of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) for the academic year 2023–2024, according to a University announcement dated August 1. The VC also appointed college principals and heads of institutions to serve as office holders and council members in their respective colleges. The chief election officer, Professor Chandra Shekhar, has stated that the employing of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be done during the entire election process, which is expected to last between 10 and 12 days. In 2019, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) gained three seats, while the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) gained one. Akshat Dahiya of the ABVP served as President, Pradeep Tanwar as Vice President, Ashish Lamba as Secretary, and Shivangi Karwal as Joint Secretary for the 2019–20 term.

Elections will be held for all four of these positions once again this year. All around the University, especially in the North Campus, preparations are being made for the same. While student leaders are planning, students are actively responding. The current president of the ABVP, Akshat Dahiya, states that they are getting ready to nominate their student leaders and will also begin disseminating information about the election procedure for students. Additionally, other organisations like the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) are prepared to start their election campaigns. The previous president of SFI says that they will focus on issues that are specific to students, such as accommodation and other problems that students have on a daily basis, whereas ABVP will centre their election campaign on the four-year undergraduate programme, FYUP. In the meantime, the elections for the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) have been set for September 27. The election calendar states that teacher nominations must be submitted by September 1. At the north campus of DU, the Arts Building complex and Satyakam Bhawan will serve as the locations for the voting.

On August 12, a number of teachers’ organizations, including the Democratic Teachers’ Front, merged to form the Democratic United Teachers’ Alliance. Among them were the Democratic Teachers’ Front, the Academic for Action and Development Teachers Association, and the Indian National Teachers’ Congress, which is a branch of the Congress. They declared Aditya Narayan Misra as a potential candidate for the position of DUTA president.

The University of Delhi student elections are unique and prominent, adding to the capital’s already politically charged climate. These elections hold value for the future of the University and also reflect student sentiments.

Read Also : https://dubeat.com/2023/07/12/dusu-launches-one-day-dusu-presidents-scheme/
Image Credits : Telegraph India

Priya Agrawal

The absorption of temporary teachers initiated last year has been heavily scrutinised for being unjust and highly opaque, post the death of a DU professor who, after years of service at Hindu College, was told to vacate his position. This has sparked several protests and questioned the credibility of the recruitment process.

The suicide of a 33-year-old former Delhi University ad-hoc professor, Dr. Samarveer Singh, has sparked student and teacher-led protests throughout campuses. The deemed “institutional murder” of the professor hailing from Barna, a small district in Rajasthan, has led many to question the level of transparency and fairness in the system of inducting permanent faculty into central universities. Professors view this as an assault on their right to employment and dignity, while students have expressed great concerns and discontentment at the loss of a talented pedagogue and the unjust removal of plenty of other immensely competent academicians.

Professor Singh died on April 26, allegedly by suicide. His body was found hanging in his room in a rented apartment in outer Delhi’s Rani Bagh. As per police reports, empty liquor bottles and cigarette packets were found in the room. No suicide note was found. He was staying put in the accommodation with two of his cousins.

“The top floor of his house has two rooms. One of the rooms was locked. First, the mesh of the iron door was cut, and then the wooden door was broken. We took him to MV Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.” – Harendra Singh, Deputy Comissioner of Police (DCP)

Dr Samarveer, who had been working as an ad-hoc faculty member in the philosophy department for the past six years at Hindu College, was one of the many professors who were being displaced after the interview rounds for the recruitment of permanent faculty at Delhi University that started in September 2022. Despite having done his master’s from Hindu College itself, completing an M.Phil. degree, being enrolled in DU for a PhD, and having had the experience of teaching at Hindu College for the last few years, Professor Samarveer was mercilessly, in an utterly unjust manner, told to vacate his office merely on the basis of a highly opaque, unfair interview.

“It is very unfortunate and upsetting, and we are all shocked. Across colleges, the recruitment process is currently underway, and selection committees are holding interviews. Even though he had been associated for quite some time, he could not be regularised. The displacement happened in the first week of February, and he was asked to look for other opportunities. However, we had adjusted him for some time, but after that, it was not possible”.- Prof. Anju Srivastava, Principal Hindu College

The professor’s family and colleagues have spoken about his helplessness and distress. After being displaced in February, he was called back to Hindu College. Owing to his love for his college, Dr Samarveer decided to give up the position of a guest lecturer at another college, but no more than twenty days after resuming work, he was told to leave once again. Creating an insecurity this intense, constantly keeping professors in the dark, and treating the pedagogues of our nation this mercilessly exhibits the diminishing respect of academicians in the education sector. Such circumstances are grave enough to create an environment conducive to the development of feelings of constant self-doubt and helplessness, which is probably what led to the unfortunate loss of Dr Samarveer. Losing out on employment in an institution to which one has devoted so many years can be disarming for anyone.

“Sir was let go in February. It came as a huge shock for all of us, considering he wasn’t even a guest lecturer and had been teaching at the college for years. Then, after being called back, he was told to leave again. April 11th was his last working day, and April 17th was the last day I saw him. He was replaced by teachers far less competent, teachers who don’t even come from a philosophy background. All thanks to the highly problematic recruitment system. I regret not being able to spend as much time with him; I wish I would have.”- Keshavi Sethi, a student from Hindu College in conversation with DU Beat

Recent events have shown how there is a greater normalisation of recruiting mass ad-hoc teachers, paying them meagre salaries, conveniently displacing them, and brazenly prioritising those with political affiliations. Under such circumstances, where does a teacher hailing from humble grounds without “appropriate” connections stand? This is a slap in the face to the legacy of exemplary pedagogy that Delhi University has long been known for. Be it the attempts to revise the syllabus, politicise the learning spaces, rob students of valuable pedagogues, or displace them with political puppets, the University’s increasingly corrupt systems are failing everyone. Several professors from various organisations like Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), All India Students’ Association (AISA) have expressed their concerns on these perils.

“It is a fact that a sizable number of long-serving ad-hoc teachers, who otherwise fill all the criteria and have worked very hard for their institutions, have been displaced in the recent interviews. With permanent appointments being made through a so-called “open” recruitment process which has seen massive displacement, there expectedly looms in many ad-hoc teachers a sense of betrayal as they have been rendered without a livelihood after having taught in colleges/departments and contributing to the University for years. They have been falsely promised that they will be retained and regularized in open interviews, which of course has remained a hoax. In majority of these interviews, it has been felt that merit and past experience do not count, and that it is rather non-merit factors like nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, adherence, liaising, influencing and obeisance that are at play.” – Prof. Maya John, faculty at Jesus and Mary College and member of DU’s Academic Council, in a Facebook post

A deplorable state of affairs can be witnessed in the statistics presented in the Parliament by the Union Education Ministry. Of the total number of teachers employed in central universities, 3904 were in temporary positions; of these, 1820 were on a contractual basis and 1931 were guest faculty, with over 6500 permanent positions yet to be filled. 2,252 seats of these were for unreserved categories, while the rest were for OBCs, STs, and SCs. Dr Samarveer himself was eligible for application to a permanent job through the reserved category but was still denied a job.

“Academia is not as attractive a profession as it was earlier. It takes years to gain expertise, the necessary qualifications in one domain to be able to get a decent-paying job in the teaching sector. It is disheartening to see how the maltreatment of teachers is leading to a degradation in the quality of pedagogues owing to a lesser number of people opting into the profession. The career of all teachers is in a perpetual crisis. Under such conditions why would one want to become a teacher?” Dr Abha Dev Habib, a professor in Miranda Hourse, in conversation with DU Beat.

She continues,

“For as long as 10 years there were no appointments to permanent positions, with a greater number of ad-hoc and guest lecturers being appointed. 2017 was the year DUTA raised demands for absorption of temporary teachers. The deterrence to appoint permanent teachers stemmed from the larger conspiracy to weaken teachers unions which speak up against injustice. 2022 onwards, after great pressure the government finally opened up to the prospect of appointing permanent teachers. A huge number of teachers were awaiting their due. Injustice has been done to so many who have served their institutions for years. Services were taken from people, and were dishonored. There is a systematic rigging in the system which prioritises spouses, friends of office bearers over merit. Loss of a breed of exemplary teachers can cause an irreversible damage to the education system of our nation.”

Following the unfortunate demise of Dr Samarveer, several student and teacher unions have taken to the streets and college campuses to protest against the unjust system. The DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) held a protest on Thursday, followed by a condolence meeting. AISA (All India Student’s Association) has held protests against “brutal injustice to teachers.” Student groups like SFI (Students Federation of India) at Hindu College organised a condolence meet on April 27, the same day the college was celebrating its annual fest, Mecca, in full swing. Many students have also expressed their concern and frustration over the lack of acknowledgement and action on behalf of the college administration, the University, and even the student body.

“From diligently taking his classes to giving us an off whenever it got too hectic for us, Sir was a gem of a person. It’s sad to see that the college administration didn’t even bother to acknowledge the loss of such a brilliant mind while celebrating it’s annual fest. The ad-hoc issue is no longer costing professors their jobs, it’s costing them their lives, their dreams and their souls.”- Himasweeta, final-year student at Hindu College

Among the ongoing protests was the Joint Press Conference dated May 2, held at the Press Club of India. Students and teachers of DU met the press regarding the ‘orchestrated conspiracies’ of favouritism in recruitments against the backdrop of Dr Samarveer’s suicide. Teachers from CTF (Common Teachers Forum), Democratic Teachers Front, Delhi Teachers Initiative, and Samajwadi Shikshak Manchak participated in the conference. Representatives from DU’s academic council and DUTA were also present. The institutionalisation of NEP was severely scrutinised, with increasing privatisation, commercialization of education, contractual hiring, and an orchestrated attempt to weaken and demobilise the teachers union forming the core of the conversations. The speakers included Nandita Narain (President of DTF, former member of DUTA), Ratan Lal (senior activist from Hindu College), Udaibir Singh (member of the academic council), Aftab Alam (Zakir Hussain College), Maya John (academic council member and JMC professor), and Uma Raag (from IP College).

During the conference, Rusham and Keshavi, former students of Dr Samarveer Singh, expressed their frustration with the current apathy of the university community. Puneet and Sama, Hansraj College students, spoke about how the best of the faculty was being replaced methodologically, with 50–60 teachers having lost their jobs in their college. The speakers also highlighted the silence of the DUTA leadership and its inability to stand against political cronyism. Discussions on the selection committee’s selective work on furthering the interests of the ruling majority were held. It was reported that some interviews did not last longer than 2 minutes and seldom included actual meaningful questions. There are instances of candidates being humiliated by the board. All speakers finally agreed upon the solution that all teachers be absorbed, keeping the reservation roster in mind. All the teachers who attended the press conference have sent a letter to the Vice Chancellor underlining these issues and demanding justice for Dr. Samarveer and all other ad hoc and guest faculty of the University.

Read also: DU Teachers Stage Protest for Absorption of Ad-Hoc Teachers

Featured Image Credits: Rediff.com

Rubani Sandhu
[email protected]

Abha Dev Habib (treasurer of DUTA), in conversation with DU Beat, sheds light on the impasse between the Delhi government, and the DU administration and teachers, requesting the students to stand in solidarity with the teachers of Delhi University and gauge what has been happening on this front.

On 9th March, DUTA called for a complete DU shutdown, requesting teachers across its 70+ colleges to go on strike. Ms Abha, in this interview, goes on to elaborate on the .. of the issue.

Can you brief us about all the major developments, action steps and a timeline of all the events until now?

The whole standoff between the Delhi government and the University of Delhi started in 2019. And there was a very ugly tussle between the University of Delhi and Delhi Government over Governing Body formation: the formation of Governing Bodies was delayed, and also, who will become the chairperson kind of situation. And this standoff resulted in the stopping of grants-in-aid by the Delhi government to these colleges. 

There are 28 colleges out of which 12 are hundred per cent funded by the Delhi government. The centre gives money to the Delhi government so that the government can forward it to these colleges. So a hundred per cent in that sense, the money comes from the Delhi government. Now, they stopped the salaries of the employees and ever since then, the tussle began. DUTA would intervene and would hold protests, and only then there was a release of salary.

It is extremely unfortunate that through the pandemic, the Delhi government maintained this style of functioning where they would withhold the grants-in-aid. Employees today include a large number of non-teaching staff working on a contract basis, and ad-hoc teachers, thus making it impossible for them to sustain themselves in an expensive city like Delhi. A lot of state universities have already been destroyed by this kind of attitude of the government that salaries are not released on time, and therefore, nobody wants to work in such units.

DUTA wrote to the government, enlisting all these concerns, and even held physical protests during the pandemic, but the government did not melt. Grants should be released so that salaries come on time which then, in turn, helps the teachers and employees to perform to the best of their abilities. Now, I mean, with a lot of restraint due time, these teachers function because we did not call for a strike through the pandemic: teachers were involved in admissions, and OBE examinations; teachers continued to teach despite the fact that they had not got salaries, and they also had to go to court for release of salaries. It was only in November that the salaries were finally released Saturdays and in November, that is released only because the court instructed the ligament to do so, or, uh, November Quebec, uh, uh, there was a, such a short one is, or the inordinate delays in grant. 

The ongoing talks of Sri Venkateswara College being dismembered from DU and shifting its affiliation to AU have been in the headlines and a cause of concern for some time now. With DUTA officially siding with the SVC staff association in their resolve against the fragmentation of Delhi University and the ongoing protests by the student body, the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) as well, has released an official statement in solidarity with the fraternity of SVC, calling upon teachers and students to unitedly fight against NEP. 

DTF, in solidarity with the teachers of Sri Venkateswara College (SVC), expresses its concerns in synonymy with the latter’s protest against the attempts of the Andhra government to press for the merger of the college with Andhra University. DTF President Nandita Narain and Secretary Abha Dev Habib go on to shed light on how the excellence achieved by the college owing to it being a part of the University of Delhi (DU) must not be undermined. 

The Andhra government has made a plea to the Centre to amend the 2009 UGC order disallowing the jurisdiction of a university beyond the state by which it is established. DTF further goes on to point out how the move is driven by the host of steps taken recently as part of the government policy toolkit to acquire brand value through the ranking framework to be competitive in the market that would be determining for successful business in education. 

DU planning offshore campuses is driven by the same objective of reshaping itself as a business enterprise and has nothing to do with revamping education. The IoE scheme, which granted this freedom, for select universities had too narrow a base. The freedom to do business therefore has been extended to the management of every university and college under NEP 2020.

“This is also a forewarning of the dismemberment of colleges from Delhi University unless DU wants to make some wholly a part of itself and the college managements agree to cede powers to the BoG of Delhi University. The freedom granted to BoGs is unlikely to disallow takeovers, mergers and acquisitions.”

-Statement in Solidarity with the fraternity of SVC, DTF

Further outlining the existing laws to prevent such happenings and the effect NEP will have on them, DTF expresses its concerns on how the protections that we enjoy today from the UGC Act and DU Act from such takeovers will become a thing of the past as NEP gets rolled out. In particular, with the introduction of the provision under clause 19.2, “There shall be overarching legislation that will supersede any contravening provisions of other earlier legislation”.

In conclusion, DTF states that the Andhra Government need not plead any longer over any regulation for NEP’s “Light but Tight” regulatory framework will only require persuading the college management. The high ranking of the college will ensure such a possibility sooner than later.

“We fear that this move may be driven by and find support from the NEP recommendations to universities to have offshore campuses. The host of steps taken in the recent past as part of the Central Government policy is pushing institutions to acquire brand value through a specious ranking framework in order to be competitive in the market for edu-business.”

-Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer, DUTA

DU Beat reached out to the SVC Student Union in the same matter. The entire students and staff fraternity of SVC has been disheartened ever since the initiation of the move. The seriousness of the issue is what has brought the entire staff and students under a consensus who have been unitedly protesting against the move.

“Some prominent teachers of our college have offered to resign in case any of such development takes place. The Telugu students of our college are also not willing to get the college affiliated with AU, hence the issue of catering to the needs of Andhra students is not justified. The students, especially the first years are quite a bit disappointed with the move, and it is due to the ongoing COVID-19 protocols that we are unable to assemble inside the college campus to show our disregard. However, the students union on its part, started the protest on online platforms yesterday, and I was quite overwhelmed by the response that our struggle was addressed with.”

-Anand Devendran, Acting President, Students Union, SVC

The online Twitter storm, dated 25th February 2021 has been quite a success with students from other colleges joining in as well in large numbers. #Venky_belongs_to_DU and #VenkyIsDU have been trending ever since, thus bringing the required attention to the issue. “The level of support that we got yesterday has proved that the entire DU stands behind Venky and if the future developments are not in our favour, we will resort to physical dharna and protests. I want to reiterate that all the students and staff bodies are united against this move and we will ensure that SVC stays in DU only,” added Anand. 


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Featured Image Credits: Siksha

Annanya Chaturvedi

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In an attempt to affiliate Sri Venkateswara college to Andhra University, Andhra CM wrote to the centre. Delhi University Teachers’ Association has released a press release in the same matter outlining its consequences and thus, opposing the move.

On February 20th, 2021, DUTA issued a press release ‘DUTA against fragmentation of Delhi University’ in response to Andhra’s request to the centre to affiliate Sri Venkateswara college to AU. DUTA President Rajib Ray and Secretary Rajinder Singh go on to express the association’s concerns for the college and how if pushed into its due course of action, the move will have “disastrous consequences for teachers, employees and students as well as the character of education” and therefore, must be opposed. 

Addressing the motives behind it, they further go on to acknowledge how the move appears to be driven by the fact that the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh lost several premier educational institutions to Telangana post bifurcation alongwith the founding idea of catering to the needs of Telugu-speaking students in Delhi. 

The Andhra government has also claimed that the foundation has been making grants for the enhancement of the college and its guidance and combined efforts have played a considerable role in the high ranking achieved by the college. Therefore, a plea has been made to the Centre to amend the 2009 UGC order disallowing state governments from establishing off-campus of a state university beyond the geographical boundaries of the state.

DUTA goes on to express how the reasons mentioned above are not sufficient to dismember the college from DU, taking into account the fact that a large part of the reason of Sri Venkateswara college being in top NIRF rankings today comes from it, being a part of DU. The crowd of students and faculty that it attracts is because it has been affiliated with Delhi University and has, therefore, always strived for excellence. 

“In making this plea, the Andhra Government is ignoring the fact that SVC has established itself as a premier institution within the framework of Delhi University. As part of a Central University, it is open to all students including those from Andhra Pradesh. The heterogeneity in terms of the student population has created the environment for achieving excellence. As part of DU, it has been able to attract the best academicians as faculty.”

-DUTA Press Release, 20.02.2021

Thus, DUTA has made its stance clear in standing alongside the SVC staff association in their resolve to oppose the move. 

Adding on, the press release also outlines DUTA’s concerns pertaining to the move being driven by and finding support in NEP recommendations to universities to have offshore campuses. “The host of steps taken in the recent past as part of the Central Government policy is pushing institutions to acquire brand value through a specious ranking framework in order to be competitive in the market for edu-business.”

Featured Image Credits: lokmat

Annanya Chaturvedi

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Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) wrote to Delhi’s Chief Minister regarding the inadequacy of grants sanctioned to 12 of DU’s colleges that are 100% funded by the Delhi Government.

On 9th May 2020, DUTA wrote to Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the inadequacy grants provided to twelve of the university’s colleges that are completely dependent on the Delhi Government for funds.

The 3rd/final instalment of Grant-in-Aid during the financial year 2019-2020 was sanctioned on 25.3.2020 and more recently, on 7.5.2020, 1st instalment of Grant-in-aid on monthly basis (Salary purpose only) was sanctioned.

As a result of the Government’s tardiness, the colleges’ funds were delayed for several months and staffers had to remain without their salaries. Further, the sanctioned grants- when sanctioned- are inadequate and not enough to cover salaries even up to April.

DUTA complained that the grants sanctioned on 23rd March 2020  were barely enough to cover salaries of January and February, resulting which, many of these colleges have been unable to pay their employees.

Along with not being able to pay the salaries of staffers after April, these under-funded colleges have not been able to make payments towards reimbursements and arrears that are due to their staffers, and are also unable to pay for electricity bills, property tax and general maintenance.

Along with the letter, DUTA presented a summary of the feedback that they have received from Staff Associations of under-funded colleges and the mentioned deficit is in regards to the funds required to cover staffer salaries alone. The feedback provided is as follows:

1.Acharya Narendra Dev College: Deficit of 6.15 cr

2. Aditi Maha Vidyalaya: Deficit of 3.85 cr

3. Bhagini Nivedita College: Deficit of 0.18 cr

4. Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences : Information not available

5. Dr B. R. Ambedkar College: Deficit of 2.48 cr

6. Deen Dayal Upadhyay College: Deficit of 3.63 cr

7. IGIPE&SS: Deficit of 0.2 cr

8. Keshav Mahavidyalaya: Deficit of 1.9 cr

9. Maharshi Valmiki College of Education: Information not available

10. Maharaja Agrasen College: Deficit of 2.61 cr

11. Saheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for women : Deficit of 2.41 cr

12. Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies : Salaries up to April have been covered

Further, the Sanction Order of 7.5.2020  states that, “As per observations of Finance Department request for release of GIA of next installment may be submitted after formation of Governing Body in all Government Colleges in 2020-21.”

DUTA has expressed disappointment in the sanction, claiming that issue of grants- especially the issue of salaries- cannot be linked to the formation of Governing bodies as the teaching and non-teaching staff and no role in their formation. They also mentioned that the non-payment of salaries is a violation of basic human rights, especially for non-teaching staff working on contracts, and ad-hoc and guest teachers who are more vulnerable.

“We find it extremely unfortunate that there has been no focus on the growth of these institutions. The 12 colleges are in dire need of the additional funds necessary for development of infrastructure development for smooth academic and administrative functioning.

The colleges still await release of funds for additional posts for teaching and non-teaching staff in view of the extension of reservation to EWSs and consequent increase in intake of students. Moreover, some of the new courses that were started after obtaining the necessary approvals are being starved of funds required for appointing teachers to run these courses.

The delay in doing so, despite repeated reminders, has undermine the teaching learning process and affect the quality of education imparted in these institutions. We write to seek your intervention for an urgent release of adequate grants to cover all pending dues including salaries, reimbursements and arrears due to employees on account of the 7th Pay Revision and for adequate infrastructure development and maintenance and for the EWS expansion. We seek an appointment to discuss these issues with you,” Rajib Ray, DUTA’s president, mentioned in the addressed letter.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Shreya Juyal

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Students of English Honours report several inconsistencies in the recently announced odd – semester results. Administration and archaic evaluation process blamed. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, another complication has arisen in the lives of several Delhi University students. There has been a gross dip in the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) of several students of BA (H) English. They suspect foul play on the part of the administration as well as a hasty evaluation process that has been tampered with.

DU Beat contacted various students of BA (H) English. Several students reported their grievances regarding discrepancies in the odd-semester university result. As per a final year student, students from various colleges observed a drop in their semester result this year. “The uncanny thing to be noticed is that it has happened in all the colleges around Delhi University. In my college, we have formed a group in which we are analysing if there are any common papers in which the result has dropped and till now, we do see a pattern. Secondly, we don’t know who checked our papers and how they were evaluated and how all of a sudden, the result came out. Some teachers have agreed that the marks dropping down for everyone means something is definitely fishy and as students, it’s our right to know about it. Given the situation, where we don’t know if we have our final exams and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) saying they’ll be using 50% of last semester marks in the worst-case scenario, that’s why we are worried. For any final year student, this is a matter of serious concern because we don’t know what the academic future holds for us and we clearly don’t wish to give up on papers in which we put in so much hard work”, she explained.

A third-year literature student who reached out to DU Beat said that unfair marking has been done. Their teachers have informed them that this is due to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protests and non-availability of professors for evaluation. GPAs have been below average or above average this semester. The students who were supposed to get 7 or 7.5 got 6 or below in some colleges.

In conversation with DU Beat, Abha Dev Habib, treasurer of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said, “It’s extremely unfortunate students have to go through this. The objective of DUTA Strike was to create a dialogue about the mistreatment and injustices faced by the teachers and workers of the University. The administration treated the evaluation boycott callously, and these are the consequences of the same. Moreover, under the existing Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), if the evaluation of papers yields marks with a low mean, it’s the moderation of the results that need to be done judiciously. It’s clear that along with faults in evaluation, there have been fallacies in moderation as well.”

A professor from the Department of English told DU Beat, “Well, what has gone wrong is the University administration. It forced all associations of the university to take drastic and rather unwanted steps which ultimately resulted in the inordinate delay of the results. For example, owing to the corner into which the University administration forced its entire teaching community, the evaluation of the last semester’s scripts were put off track. That said, it will be rather difficult for me to say if all English Honours students, across the university, have suffered depreciation in their marks because I don’t have the requisite data in any official capacity. But, as I said, if anything has gone wrong, the blame lies with the way Delhi University treats its participants: students, the teaching faculty, and the non-teaching staff. If the students are suffering it is because of the callousness of the university.”

Jiniya Saha, a second-year student of English Honours at Gargi College has suffered grievously due to the mismanagement of the University results. She told DU Beat, “I didn’t get my result. The server is still showing “Sorry! No records found” in the DU Statement of Marks website. I have submitted my assignments and written all my exam papers properly. When I complained about the same, I was told to wait for an unprecedented period of time till the college re-opens. We all know that after half a month of result declaration the web-based transcript crashes and all students are thereby advised to take a print out as a hard copy.” It’s however clear, that she is not the only student who is in a tough spot due to tampering of the evaluation cycle.

Due to the pandemic and ongoing lockdown as well as shutdown of the university, students are urgently taking steps in their capacity by reaching out to teachers about the fallacies and tampering of results. A first-year student said, “I have a list of marks of my class and we think this may be a case of mass checking. We’ve forwarded the marks to our teacher. She will study them and let us know if that’s the case.” She also pondered upon submitting her answer sheets for revaluation but admitted that she was unaware about the procedure and whether it will be altered due to the pandemic or not. A WhatsApp group of aggrieved students from the university has been formed and more than 250 students have joined it till now. The group intends to release a petition on behalf of the student community soon.

While the students are disappointed and dejected at the way things have played out, they sincerely hope the administration will hear their grievances out and take timely and just action so that their plans for future endeavours are not hindered.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Paridhi Puri
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Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has refused to comply after the University of Delhi sent colleges and institutions letters seeking details regarding the online classes conducted by teachers.

On 20th April 2020, the University of Delhi (DU) administration had sent a letter to all of the varsity’s colleges and institutions to enquire about the online classes being taken by the teachers. However, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has refused to comply with these demands. DUTA said that the teachers would not be filling out this form as it feels that this form could be used to draw a conclusion that is in favour of online exams.

This seeking of information was done by the varsity after the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry sought details of the online classes being conducted during the pandemic by the teachers. Previously, the university had urged its teachers to remain in touch with students. They had been asked to distribute e-resources, and this was done by providing material through WhatsApp and e-mail. On Monday, 21st April, DU sent a letter to its colleges requesting information regarding the classes being conducted online.

However, DUTA wrote to the Vice Chancellor, urging him to withdraw the letter. “We express our utter dismay at the approach taken by the university in the face of the pandemic with respect to conduct of online classes and the forthcoming semester examinations,” the association wrote to the VC. “The letter does not indicate as to the purpose for which this information is being sought, that too at such short notice. We wish to point out that the format sent out to the colleges reveals extreme shortsightedness as there is no attempt whatsoever to find out how students and teachers are coping with the abrupt closure of the university due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown announced by the government.” They also added that “The format expects teachers to answer questions in a manner that would reveal very little about the preparedness for exams or issues which they are facing.”

Earlier, DUTA had written to the administration opposing the idea of online examinations. They had urged the administration to understand the lack of resources available to various students of the varsity, as well as the fact that online classes could not compensate for in-class lectures. They, therefore, insisted that online examinations weren’t a viable option. 

“Hence, to ask colleges to submit details of online classes on the format circulated is not only grossly misplaced but also indicates the complete lack of concern on the part of the authorities towards the well-being of students and teachers,” the DUTA said.

DUTA has therefore decided to reject the letter in fear that it may be used to draw conclusions in favour of online examinations.

Feature Image Credit: DU Beat Archive

Shreya Juyal

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