Despite protests by teachers, the University of Delhi (DU) has signed a contentious tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) with regard to its funding.

In September last year, the MHRD had sent DU a notice that its funding would be withheld if it doesn’t sign the agreement which, as reported by The Indian Express, was termed “arm-twisting” by the DUTA. As reported by NDTV, The tripartite MoU requires universities to continuously increase the internal (self-generated) financial resource through fee hike, shift to revenue-earning commercial courses, engagement with other commercial activities, and manage greater part of their research activities through extramural funding.

It also mentions that release of funds and loans from Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) for expansion of infrastructure will depend on the institution’s performance. The DUTA had said that tripartite MoU initiate steps towards the privatisation design that forms the core of the Draft National Education Policy (NEP). “The Draft NEP 2019 aims to reduce the number of Higher Education Institutions (HIEs) while increasing the size of surviving institutions, which will be governed similarly by a privatised Board of Governors and have to have a development office to secure sources of funding other than government funding,” they added. UGC Secretary, Rajnish Jain, and sources in the MHRD confirmed that the MoU was signed last week.

Press Statement by Executive Council (EC), stated that J L Gupta & Rajesh Jha, members of EC, protested against signing of tripatrite MoU with MHRD and UGC recently, by the Vice Chancellor (VC), Mr. Yogesh Tyagi. They came to know that the VC has signed it and then, they wrote a letter to VC raising objection over its grave compromises with the autonomy of the university as conferred by the Parliament through DU Act 1922. It also stated, “This MoU imposes privatisation and contractualisation, on which they strongly dissented in the concerned committee and the EC. This MoU will change the inclusive character of higher education in India as the loans from HEFA are forced on us. When the whole University community has rejected this MoU, the VC should have gone for wider consultation with the statutory bodies and the elected bodies of students, karamcharis, and teachers rather than signing it up in a hush hush manner.” They have also demanded for the authorities to share all information and documents related to the MoU and stop its implementation in the University as it breaches the provisions of the Parliamentary Act. Rajib Ray, President, DUTA, too condemned the MoU and said, “We are yet to see which version was signed — the original or the diluted one approved by EC. Either way, we are opposed to this.” VC, Mr. Tyagi, was not available for a comment on the same.

Feature Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat

Sakshi Arora

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