The struggle by Kirori Mal College’s students and teachers against the VC and KMC Chairman Baleshwar Rai; and in support of their suspended principal, Dr. Bhim Sen Singh has developed into extensive protest marches and dharnas. The KMC Teachers’ Association has been staging a dharna for two days to oppose the functioning and “authoritarian decision making” of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dinesh Singh. The association issued a statement on Thursday, lamenting the manner in which Prof. Dinesh Singh has been handling the protests and especially showcause of two teachers. They also demanded for an autonomous and impartial body that would decide on the whole suspension issue.

“The DUTA executive condemns the autocratic manner in which the university administration has attacked teachers’ rights to protest, as evident in the case of the letters of the university registrar of 1st August 2012 and, subsequently of the acting Principal of Kirori Mal College to the teachers, denying the right of casual leave,” reads the official statement issued by KMC. DUTA has demanded for withdrawal of the showcause notices against post-holders of the staff-association. It further states the “attack on the staff association is an attack on DUTA. Therefore, DUTA demands immediate withdrawal of showcause notices against office-bearers of the staff association. DUTA shall not tolerate this continuous attack on our right to protest and will resort to direct action unless the letters are withdrawn.”

On being asked the acting Principal Dr. S.P Gupta about the showcause notices that were issued, he said that he had no idea about how all this happened and he did what he was directed to do by the VC. He never meant to suppress and undermine the rights of the Teachers’ Association.

All the teachers and students now require a permission slip to meet the new acting Principal in his office and entry without permission won’t be allowed. Students have not been attending classes as they have been active along with the teachers to stage protests and dharnas. A few students from the hostel were summoned and asked to end their protests and dharnas. There is agitation among students and teachers because the results of some of the university courses have still not been declared, the University recently announced some new fundamentally flawed Meta Courses, the M.A admissions are still not complete (the examinations being in November); and VC Singh is trying to focus on other trivial things like issuing showcause notices to teachers for no rhyme or reason.


The Principal of Kirori Mal College, Dr. Bhim Sen Singh was served a suspension order by the College Governing Body on 1st of August 2012 at 11:15 AM, soon after he leveled corruption and molestation charges against the college’s Governing Body Chairman, Mr. Baleshwar Rai, who is also a retired IAS officer. The decision was taken on the same day itself, in a meeting held with some members of the College Governing Body at the VC’s Office at 9 AM. The intense uproar and commotion among students and teachers of Kirori Mal College lead to a protest march to the VC Lawns. About 500 students along with the teachers staged a protest against the illegal and elitist functioning of the Delhi University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dinesh Singh and Mr. Baleshwar Rai. Subsequently, Dr. S.P Gupta who was appointed as the Vice-Principal by the Governing Body will function as the ‘acting principal’ of the college now.

The KMC Staff Association demanded an immediate withdrawal of the suspension order issued to the Principal which was probable because of his involvement in the anti-semester demonstrations and ‘mass-absenteeism’ on the first day of college of Semester II. They also called for suspension of the Chairman of KMC Governing Body in the light of his undemocratic behavior and the seriousness of charges of misappropriation of funds and molestation. The KMC Staff Association also abolished all charges of ‘mass absenteeism’ against themselves and the college Principal.

Students of Kirori Mal College along with their teachers who were fuming with rage also staged a protest against the two aforementioned, in front of the VC façade. To add to their fury, the Vice-Chancellor and his officials maintained a distance from the protestors. “SP Gupta, who has been made Principal, had been censured by the governing body. This is how you promote ‘goonda-gardi’ in a college,” says Dr. Bhim Sen Singh. KMC teachers amicably proposed to its members to go on a mass casual leave for the next two working days in protest against the “illegal decision” taken by the Governing Body “at the behest of the University”. But the right to take casual leave has been denied to the teachers of Kirori Mal College through a “Registrar-issued Letter”. Dr. Sudipto Ghosh (President, Staff Association) and Rudrashish Chakraborty (Secretary, Staff Association) have been served show-cause notices.


The Delhi University Teachers’ Association staged a protest in LSR today. They were protesting against the idea of establishing a Meta University floated by the VC, and of a four-year undergraduate programme, through the media, without placing the proposal before the Academic and Executive Councils for proper evaluation of the desirability or feasibility of such policy changes. Teachers from various DU colleges gathered outside the college cafeteria handing out pamphlets to get the support of students.

While the teachers are still upset over the recently introduced semester system and its effects on students as well as teachers, they feel this new proposal is despotic  and undemocratic.

In their written appeal to students, DUTA says that, “The experience of semesterized courses in the last one and a half years has confirmed our worst fears about severe academic dilution and adverse effect on teaching processes. Teachers are being forced to instruct students through modules that do not allow the time to engage with different levels of competence of different students, nor do these modules allow teachers to communicate a sense of fundamentals and depth of any academic discipline. To cloak the disastrous impact of semesterisation on the performance of students, the DU administration has resorted to irrational inflation of marks which has put a question mark on the credibility of our results which will result in devaluing our degree.”

Teachers already had been feeling undervalued as their opinions and protests were not taken into consideration during the finalizing of the University’s decision to semesterize undergraduate courses. According to Ms. Vijaya Venkatraman, who teaches Spanish at the GRS faculty of arts, “The semesterisation process saw the abolishment of democratic functioning in DU. DUTA protested but  no one paid heed, and just as we had feared, semester system led to simplification of exams and inflation of marks. Our second year students are worried that they wont be able to survive the competition in the job sector, which is like a blot on our reputation. The VC has decided to add this sudden ‘grandeur’ to the University without even taking the collective opinion of teachers.  We, as professionals, are sad that we can no longer operate our teaching the way we want to, which is why we want students on get on board with us for our cause.”

The teachers’ collective is demanding expansion of Government funding in higher education to meet the growing demand for the same. It is also resisting large-scale commercialization of higher education, as they believe that the role of education is to strengthen social and national integration of the country.

You can read DUTA’s charter of demands at: http://gaurnaveen.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/draft_charter-of-demands.pdf


According to Abha Dev Habib, of the DUTA, the “once so called ‘reform’ forced on the teaching community at the behest of the MHRD, the semester system at the undergraduate level has been categorically and unequivocally rejected by the teachers. The experience of semesterized courses in the last one and half years has confirmed our worst fears about severe academic dilution and adverse effect on teaching-processes and co-curricular activities. This has crippled the intellectual, cultural-emotional and holistic growth of students. The worst affected are students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

It is being believed that to cloak the disastrous impact of semesterization on the performance of students, the DU administration has resorted to irrational inflation of marks which has put a question mark on the credibility of our results and will result in devaluing of the degree. The new moderation formula has worked against all students thus having the teachers at DU exercised over this marks scam.

The marks scam has purportedly happened at three levels:

(i) Meetings were held in many Departments to unofficially decide a reduced syllabus for setting exam papers. The question papers were made as easy, the format of the exam papers was changed giving students maximum chance.

(ii) The examiners were instructed to mark leniently.

(iii) The last straw on camel’s back was to moderate all marks by the same token. Earlier moderation was case-wise. This time, blanket moderation was done, without a prior and proper tabulation of results, and analysis of the same.

Nandita Narian of the Maths Department at St. Stephen’s College, who was also an examiner, tells how earlier in the meeting in the Maths Department, the syllabi were unofficially reduced and later there was imminent pressure from the DU Exam Branch to mark students leniently.

The proposal to semesterize the postgraduate courses was passed in Academic Council meeting of February 2008 and the decision was implemented from July 2009. The results of postgraduate courses, which have not been tampered by the DU administration to that extent, reconfirm the opinion that the semester system works against the inclusion policies. The failure rate has increased in the postgraduate Departments as students with disadvantaged backgrounds fail to cope in the semester system.

These issues have also been highlighted in the Memorandum of Protest by the examiners of the History department who have written to Dr. Jaggi, the Controller of Examinations saying that this “ we protest against this un- academic way of moderating results that has diluted academic standards and has made a mockery of the evaluation process undertaken seriously and sincerely by us.” and the memo was signed by 14 examiners of the same department.

Click on the following links for more information

Moderation Patterns in DU Final Exams– By Abha Dev Habib

Memorandum of Protest _History



Following the Delhi University Teachers’ Association’s decision to protest against the implementation of the semester system in its last general body meeting earlier this month, A dharna was held outside the vice chancellor’s office on Friday to protest against the same.

Thursday had witnessed a similar scene with teachers protesting and sloganeering in their respective colleges. An open house debate had been organized in some colleges to educate students about the implications the semester system has for them.

Friday’s dharna witnessed representation from most Delhi University colleges. The Vice Chancellor however remained unavailable for comment. It was later discovered that Professor Pental was not in his office at the time of the dharna in spite of prior notification. By adjusting the students’ time – table, teachers made it a point that classes would not be disrupted.

This decision to implement the semester system comes at a time when many colleges of the University are reeling from the moderation of the internal assessment marks. As teachers pointed out at the Dharna, the university which is still trying to tackle the flaws of the recently introduced internal system, is certainly in no position to adopt the semester system.

The gathered teachers also expressed skepticism at the vice chancellor’s earlier conciliatory proposition of engaging in “extensive dialogue” with the staff as a similar promise had been made last year but to no avail. In the absence of any further communication from the VC regarding this issue, the DUTA plans to hold more such dharnas .

Formalise opposition to the semester system

In a general body meeting held last Tuesday, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association formally announced their opposition to the semester system. The Teachers body has reached a unanimous decision and expressed dissatisfaction at not only the consequences this system would have on the education system of the country but also the undemocratic way in which it is being implemented. Besides, the vice chancellor’s open addressal, very little communication has been made to the teachers regarding this issue. The irony of the matter is that within a month of introducing the system, Professor Pental’s tenure as the vice chancellor of the university shall terminate, leaving his successor with the onus of implementing the system and tackling the numerous problems that DUTA feels are sure to arise out of it.

Says DUTA Secretary ,DR. Dinesh Adlakha, on the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting. “We shall hold dharnas at the colleges and also a massive dharna at the VC’s office. Also we would take help of our students in opposing this change as this is going to affect them the most. We seek to make the civil society at large aware of the problems of the student with the proposed change.

Let me make it very clear that the teachers’ workload or their vacations will not be affected at all by this change to the semester system. Our vacations also are not going to be affected in any way. So the fight is not for the vacations but the inherent problems of the semester system in big universities like Delhi where the number of students is so large that the system cannot work at all. This internal assessment system at colleges is an example to strengthen our argument.

This attempt of the UGC to have a uniform calendar in the central universities all over the country otherwise also is a retrograde step as the weather and climatic conditions in this country are extreme in different parts of the country. Such a step is going to be counter productive.”

Considering the urgency of the matter, it is projected that the dharnas would commence in the month of August itself.  Being proposed on the recommendations of the knowledge commission , students and teachers alike have expressed skepticism at the system’s supposed success in homogenizing  education within Delhi university .This theory is however debunked if one considers the UGC and the NKC ‘s  recommendation of accreditation of colleges.

A comprehensive but detailed critique, countering the Vice Chancellor’s reasons for implementing this semester system has been made available by the association. Turn to page three for a synopsis of this report.

In an unprecedented move the Vice-Chancellor is attempting to introduce a major systemic change through the semester system at the under-graduate level without even so much as a committee of the University of Delhi having deliberated upon the issue. Obviously, he has precluded any scope of open debate on the subject. It is an issue with far reaching implications for the entire university system involving evaluation system, course structures and their contents, pedagogy, and the academic calendar including vacations. It is remarkable that the proposed change is being attempted to be introduced without even a semblance of framework for it. The proposal has come from outside the university in the context of globalization of higher education and the Vice-Chancellor is facilitating its mindless application. He has taken an arbitrary decision to implement it from 2010. It is meant to integrate the University of Delhi within the global market economy.

(opening statement of DUTA’s report on the semester system)

Semester system: An overview

Evaluation System and its implications

The switch over to the semester system would necessitate two set of examinations being conducted in the year, one in November -December , the other in April. If the examination were to be conducted by the university, it would be totally chaotic given the university’s inability to declare results even of a single annual examination on time; results are never ready before the reopening of the university after the summer break.

If the examination is to be conducted by the colleges themselves, the system would be replete with dangerous consequences for the evaluation system and the consequent gradation of colleges. It would undermine uniformity in the evaluation system and thereby introduce variation in the value of degrees so obtained by students. Inherent within the college evaluation system is the gradual gradation of colleges into a multi-tier system, which has been the agenda of privatization of higher education for more than two decades. The teachers’ movement has been consistently resisting this move.

Furthermore, the system of house examinations would have to go, thus students lose out on practice and feedback that they get out of the existing internal system.

Implications for Courses of Study

If the semester system were to be applied to the existing course structures, they would have to be artificially bifurcated into two halves, which is neither viable nor desirable. Contradictory to the idea being floated by the V.C, the exam load per session would hardly reduce, either for students or for the teaching faculty. To finish the 100 mark papers of 5 units per semester  the frequency of lectures conducted will have to be  doubled as well.

Many professors feel that this would adversely impact learning / teaching processes besides creating serious pedagogical problems. It would make it extremely difficult to impart/study fundamentals of any subject under the system of double examination pressure. It would also undermine the entire teaching system at the undergraduate level.

If new course structures and content are to be devised in a meaningful manner, a gigantic effort involving hundreds of courses of study and dozens of disciplines would be required.

Semester System and Interdisciplinary Approach

The Vice-Chancellor’s statement that the semester system would encourage interdisciplinary studies is to substitute the evaluation system for the course structures and their content. Interdisciplinary approach does not follow as a necessary corollary of the semester system. Nor are interdisciplinary and annual examinations necessarily mutually exclusive. Interdisciplinarity depends upon content of courses and their structures. If required it can easily be provided under  the existing annual exam system.

Also as Mrs. Harriet Raghunathan , an English  professor, at Jesus and Mary college points out in her detailed analysis of the semester system, BA students have plenty of interdisciplinarity in their 5 new concurrent courses or their B.A. programme foundation and application courses all of which run for a full year.

For whom is the system being made globally viable?

It has been suggested by the Vice-Chancellor that through global compatibility, the semester system would lead to free movement of students, both Indian and foreign. Such a move would enable foreign students, to avail of a semester of study at much lower costs in India while given the prohibitive cost of education abroad, it would be exceedingly difficult for Indian students to take advantage of the same. Furthermore, several European countries do not have the semester system.

It is also felt that at the behest of external agencies if the system is applied to Delhi University, it shall not be very conducive to the academic growth unlike the cited examples of the  post-graduate courses/universities or single institutes where student-teacher ratio is  higher. This would lead to gradual erosion of the existing system in the university. It would mean back door entry for autonomous colleges. It would merely facilitate the coming and functioning of foreign private universities in India, even segregating the correspondence courses from the main stream of Delhi University. There is a more pressing urgency to strengthening and optimizing existing structures before introducing any systemic changes.

(This article has been written on the basis of DUTA’s  report titled”

Critique of the Vice-Chancellor’s proposal on the Semester System” and invaluable excerpts provided by Mrs. Harriet Raghunathan, Reader, Jesus and Mary college)

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) is striking back with a vengeance. This time around, there are three sound reasons for the strike-the UGC’s recent amendment in the National Eligibility Test (NET), the disapproval over the proposed semester system and issues with the amendments in the 6th Pay Commission.

The main concern of course was the withdrawal of exemption from NET to PhD/M Phil holders. Lakhs of college teachers and aspiring lecturers with PhD and MPhil qualifications across the country are facing a bleak future with the University Grants Commission (UGC) suddenly seeking to amend its regulations making a pass in the National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) mandatory for appointment as college teachers.

A lecturer at Jesus and Mary College states, “The DUTA strike was called on because of certain issues. One of them was the University’s decision to make the NET examination a compulsory qualification for a lectureship appointment.  Up till now those who had finished their MPhil were not required to sit for the exam. However it’s not going to be the case now as teachers who have completed their M.Phil will be required to clear the net. Moreover it’ll b implemented with retrospective effect, which is unfair to those teachers who have not cleared this exam but worked at their post for some years already. Thus the backdate effect of the NET would have negative implications effect for them. In any case, NET is not an adequate parameter for judging a teacher’s capability or mastery of the subject.”

The amendment, when implemented, would virtually make a lot of lecturers with PhD and MPhil qualifications who have not passed the NET or SLET, ineligible for appointment in universities and colleges. The migration of such teachers from private colleges to government colleges and universities would be affected as well. More importantly, this will lead to a major faculty predicament in Delhi University.

Says Mitali Mishra, professor at Lady Shri Ram College, “This strike is for the sake of our professional dignity… We are all permanent teachers and the problem of the NET exam doesn’t effect us directly. However that does not prevent us from protesting against an unfair system which is holding our profession back and preventing a lot of talented people from taking up teaching. The NET exam has often been criticised at the highest committees but no decisive action has ever come out of it. The authorities should either make the NET a better test or do away with it altogether”.

After allegedly observing a fall in the quality of teachers at the university and college level, the Bhalchander Mungelkar Committee decided to make the NET/SLET compulsory .It now remains to be seen whether DUTA will have its way in the immediate future or not.

St Stephens College has started the procedure for inducting a new principal for the college.
The National Commission for Minority Education Institutions (NCMEI) upheld DUTA’s contention that Thampu’s appointment was “patently illegal.� And asked Delhi University (DU) to start the process for the appointment of a principal at the college, Thampu had been appointed Officer on Special Duty in 2006 for a term of three years after former principal Anil Wilson took over as the vice-chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University.

The Church of North India (CNI), which governs the college, met members of the college’s supreme council and decided to induct a new principal by March 15. The Church claims that the controversy on Thampu’s appointment has adversely affected the college’s reputation.

“The college’s unblemished reputation has certainly taken a beating due to this controversy. The appointment of a principal is now inevitable,� said Reverend Enosdas Pradhan, general secretary, CNI.

Thampu can apply for the principal’s post, but will have to go through the screening procedure. “He (Thampu) is a priest of our church and is responsible for bringing the college back into the folds of the CNI. We would be happy if he applies for the post,� Pradhan said.

The college has laid down new eligibility conditions for principal. The new criteria, met by incumbent Reverend Valson Thampu, do not require the principal to meet standards fixed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

According to the new conditions, the principal need not be a PhD. But he/she has to be between 50 and 60 years old. The supreme council of the college said the new principal would have to meet only its criteria, not those set by the UGC or Delhi University.

Less than a year ago, however, it had said it was mandatory for the new principal to meet standards set by both the bodies. The UGC and Delhi University require all college principals to be PhDs. Though Thampu recently got a PhD in theology from Allahabad Agricultural University, the National Council for Minority Education Institutions has asked DU to scrutinise the legitimacy of the degree.