On 17th November, Sunday, students of School of Open Learning (SOL) held a funeral march to symbolise the death of the varsity’s Vice Chancellor (VC) for them, and sent tonsured hair to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) to protest against the hasty implementation of the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) system in SOL. 

On 17th November 2019, the students of DU’s School of Open Learning (SOL) took out a funeral march from the main gate of the Arts Faculty to the VC house, symbolising his death for the students of School of Open Learning (SOL). The students carried an effigy of the VC in a funeral procession, with slogans that read Annyay VC ki shavyatra (Unfair VC’s funeral procession) and SOL aur Regular mein degree ki samanta hee nahi, suvidhaon ki bhi do (Provide equal opportunities to regular courses and SOL, and not just equal degrees). The march was organised by the students and the KYS against the ‘bulldozed’implementation of the CBCS/ Semester system by DU for the students of SOL. 

In a press statement released on Sunday, the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), mentioned, “Classes are suspended while more than half of the Honours courses remain incomplete; thus destroying the future of first-year SOL students, who have to appear for the CBCS examination later this November. Not only is the syllabus incomplete, the SOL students are yet to be provided with their complete study material. SOL is so unprepared that till now even the study material which has to be mandatorily provided to the students has not been made available to the majority. All this while the exams are due this very month. Also, even though lacs of students have taken admission this year in SOL, the study centres are almost empty because no information has been provided to them.”

The students of SOL had held a massive protest at the MHRD as well, where they had tonsured their hair and sent it to the Union HRD Minister, Delhi Education Minister, UGC, DU, and SOL authorities to assert that they felt orphaned, and were thus sending their tonsured hair as offerings of symbolic sacrifice. The students have made an appeal to the High Court of Delhi and had also protested against University Grants Commission (UGC), demanding its immediate intervention for the roll-back of the new CBCS curriculum and semester mode. 

“The entire situation is chaos. Even though the idea of lessening the parity between regular colleges and distant learning is a good initiative, its implementation is terrible. We don’t know the syllabus, classes are empty and without the proper study material, the teachers don’t know what to teach in classes either. We’ve been completely abandoned by the authorities, despite continually reaching out. The University decided to introduce the CBCS system with no preparation and now we have to sit for semester exams that SOL wasn’t even prepared for. This is our future, and the University doesn’t seem to care at all,” Mrinal Yadav, a B.Com. student at SOL told DU Beat. 

Expressing concern over this issue, several teachers have written to the University visitor, President Ram Nath Kovind, calling for the postponement of the exams and rolling back of the semester system for this year. “We have been observing the growing agitation of SOL students and the high handedness with which the University is circumventing to their objections regarding the manner in which the system has been introduced,” the letter to the President said. It was said to be signed by about 100 teachers. A review of the study materials provided, upon which distance education students mostly rely, showed that they were “full of errors” and not a product of academic protocols, they wrote in the letter. The teachers also raised issues about the way the new system was introduced, arguing that it was “bulldozed” through the University’s statutory bodies.

Feature Image Credits: KYS

Shreya Juyal

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As per reports, CBCS curriculum being adopted at SOL and NCWEB allows students to shift to vacant seats in courses in regular colleges in their second year. SOL also introduces new changes in online learning.

Students from the School of Open Learning (SOL) and Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board (NCWEB) of the University of Delhi (DU) will now be able to take admission in regular colleges in their second year of Undergraduate study.

This move has been brought about by the introduction of the Credit Based Curriculum System (CBCS) at these open learning institutions, which entails that the students at SOL and NCWEB will also be studying the same curriculum as the regular college students. Under this CBCS system, a new curriculum has been introduced for students in the distance learning mode along with options of choosing elective courses which were earlier available only in regular mode.

Director, SOL, Chandra Shekhar Dubey in conversation with the Indian Express said, “Every year, there are several seats that are left vacant in the second year due to a candidate leaving, failing to pass, or changing their college. Each college thereafter releases a cut-off of marks required to fill those seats. Students making it through the cut-off will have to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from both colleges (the one they are shifting from and the one seeking transfer too) and their seat will be shifted. They can also seek transfer from one college to another, in the same mode.”

The SOL will also hold online classes for students, through their respective online dashboards, along with webinars and chat-based counselling sessions. The institute is aiming to hire two thousand new Personal Contact Programme (PCP) counsellors. They will hold counselling online and offline and will also create and disseminate the content material for their respective subjects. With the aim of making the SOL system blended-learning-based, the study material and library access to online classes along with doubt-resolution will also be made available to students online, making the entire process of open learning easier for students through the aide of technology.

Over five lakh students who are associated with the Delhi University’s open learning courses will be affected by these changes.

Image Credits: SOL Website

Bhavya Pandey

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Migration, the process by which a student can change his/her college within the University while not having to repeat a year of education, is a boon for meritorious students who might have not made it to their college of choice initially. Before 2011, migration was a clearly stated policy in most college brochures/handbooks and the practice was fairly common.

Come 2011 and enter the semester system. The migration policies suddenly go off the records; it does not find a mention in any college prospectus. The reasons offered in hushed tones is that colleges doesn’t want to complicate an already complex scenario by working out how a student would migrate through semesters, and how marks would be carried forward and how the conflicting optional-papers system would be worked out.

This however, does not imply that migrations are disallowed. There exists a file in the DU website, a file record of an amendment to Ordinance IV, relating to migrations. It clearly states that migrations are still allowed, and can now even occur across universities (as per new rules)! The rules more or less remain the same as before.

The policy change has puts questions before us : why is migrations being down-played by the University? Why is it so that our correspondent, who visited the SOL for migration, is told “There are no migrations allowed as of date, we shall let you know if there is a change in policies.” Why is so that staff members in various North Campus colleges where we reached out either refuse to comment or state that migrations are disallowed?

The dean’s office at the University says that the website needs to be updated and that colleges do allow migrations. This statement comes amidst reports that the last date to apply for migrations (as found out from college sources directly) at Hindu College and GGS College are already past. For the immediate attention of interested students, Khalsa College, among a possibly larger list, is still accepting applications!

Being a government-funded university, it is of paramount importance that transparency is followed at all levels. Delhi University should take steps to make information available at all levels. Migrations are an across-the-University issue and require immediate attention as far as updating the website is concerned. Colleges also need to work keeping student’s welfare in mind. Difficulty faced by colleges in admitting migration students indicates a flaw in the system for which a meritorious student should not be penalized.


Arnav Das
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Photo credits: Additi Seth