The students from School of Open Learning have started an indefinite hunger strike against the University of Delhi regarding the decision of introducing the Choice Based Credit System from this year onwards.
On Monday, 19th August, 2019, students of School of Open Learning (SOL) along with activists from Krantikari Yuva Sangathan held a protest at Arts Faculty, University of Delhi. They have also launched an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday, 20th August 2019.
The University of Delhi (DU) recently decided to implement the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Woman Education Board (NCWEB), removing the existing annual mode. The University has decided to change the syllabus of these institutions after 12 years. The decision was taken during an emergency meeting of the University’s Executive Council (EC) on Saturday, 17th August 2019, but four members recorded their dissent to the idea.
In 2015, DU had decided to drop annual examinations and paved way for the semester examinations for all its regular colleges under CBCS. SOL and NCWEB were exempted since there were no regular classes for these students. The latest decision will bring the two institutions at par with regular colleges. However, the decision has faced backlash by people even before it was implemented. Members of Academic Council questioned the implementation of the programme. Questions relating to the semester system and examinations were also raised.Around 1.5 lakh students are enrolled in SOL and NCWEB has more than 2000 students in the institution, making it a dire issue affecting the future of many.
This decision is being highly criticised because of the following reasons:
- The decision has been implemented in haste. “This is a very welcome step but the way DU is planning to implement the scheme in a hurry will harm the students. This will also face legal issues as the varsity has invited applications and conducting admissions as per the previous method i.e., annual pattern,” said Pankaj Garg former member of the Academic Council.
- The material of the annual mode of exam has already been distributed. What is more shocking is that until a few days ago, students of SOL and NCWEB were studying the same annual mode syllabus. “Study material of annual mode and old syllabus has also been distributed. If we change the system now, there is going to be increased expenditure” said Rajesh Jha, EC member. “The university will distribute online material but half of the students enrolled in SOL are coming from economically weaker sections and many do not have computers at home,” Jha added.
- The students who preferred choosing the annual mode over CBCS weren’t given a choice to express their consent. Janmejoy Khuntia, SOL Staff Council Secretary, said, “While the CBCS system is welcome, students have paid fees in annual mode so it may be unfair to ask them to switch. The university must look at the implementation and avoid haste.” Khuntia further added that as per the University Act, it is the Academic Council which should decide upon the conduct of examination.
- A major change like this will also affect staff requirement as well staff training. Lack of preparation there could hamper the education of these students.“Since the workload would increase, the staff should also be increased. We are exploring possibilities to develop a third examination branch in the lines of south Delhi campus examination branch under the Campus of Open Learning (COL) to undertake these responsibilities,” a senior DU official said requesting anonymity.
- The students of SOL programme would have to face a more rigid and harsh schedule as while NCWEB students and SOL honours students will have their examination with regular students. Other than them, their tests will be conducted after regular classes end and before their examination begins and also during the interval following the completion of regular examinations.
Bringing a contrapositive opinion, another member of EC as well as officiating Director of NCWEB, Geeta Bhatt said, “Obviously the university is implementing the scheme with proper and articulated planning. Further, admissions are still going in the SOL, NCWEB and even in some regular colleges.”
Feature Image Credits: Jagran Josh