Refusal of admissions to Ph.D. program in Modern Indian Languages (MIL) and Literary Studies Department to over 50 Delhi University students by the university has lead to outrage and animosity among them. The preeminent problem here is that the university did not declare the post-graduate results at the apt time that is in May. The applicants are not guilty but the university is at pitfall. Also, the applicants from other departments who qualified their entrance exams and were wait-listed were called for Viva after two days but were denied consequently.

“There are limited seats for every course and in case the university, being the Central University of the country, announces its results late then it is apparent injustice to the candidates. It is none less than a crime being held. Why should the students suffer when the university is inefficient”, said Harish Khanna, Vice-President of DUTA.

Applicants were being called for entrance examination held on July 22, followed by the Viva on 24th July for those who qualified the entrance exam. But the most opaque and cloudy concern was that it was the only during the admission process that it was revealed that the students will not be given admissions unless they had their results. An applicant said, “This partial decision by the authorities regarding our admissions to the Ph.D. programme is really unjust. How can a university conclude over a matter when it is the one which is at fault?”

75 marks are awarded for the entrance exam, 25 for the Viva, 5 marks for NET- qualification and 20 marks on the M.A. and M.Phil. results, thus the  students who have their results awaited are not eligible. “When the case is so, the University is liable to coordinate and should extend the deadline for admissions or provide provisional admissions to the short-listed students. It is like violation of the Right to Education”, added Harish Khanna.

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.

With a deadline of December this year, Delhi University’s Institute of Life long learning is preparing to make lectures and some of the best course content available online.
The Human Resource development Ministry has awarded ILLL a 2 crore pilot project to develop e content for 14 papers of seven discipline. The list includes mathematics, botany, chemistry, economics, history and commerce.
The project is a step in the direction of ILLL’s Rs 100 crore proposal to set up a national centre for e-content development for the undergraduate and postgraduate courses under the University Grants Commission’s Model Curricula.
If the plan is successfully implemented, it would bring about a significant change in the field of higher learning as the best content and lectures would be accessible to eligible students throughout the country. Furthermore undergraduate and post -graduate studies would be available under the same roof.
E learning would also enable students of any college to access lectures on different topics. In addition to providing information about a particular topic , the e portal would include video lectures, online quizzes, animations, simulations to help students achieve a better level of understanding.
The e-learning material would include certain value additions to the traditional content such as a glossary of difficult terms, common misconceptions, pop-ups, points to ponder, web links etc
The major concern regarding the implementation of this measure has been that there might be a compromise in the quality of education provided. The varsity is however planning to set up an internal quality assurance cell to assess, monitor and enhance quality standards.
According to Vice -Chancellor, DU, Deepak Pental, “We are not even in the top 10 Asian Universities despite having all the programmes, faculty and infrastructure. There’s need for enhancing quality on all fronts and we’d like to have an internal mechanism for this. We would like to compare our university with global standards for which we may even consider inviting an international agency. The academic council would be consulted for its opinion before we proceed on this.”