‘The university does not have permission from the UGC to start this new structure’

The first step towards implementation of the four-year undergraduate course at Delhi University will be taken on Tuesday at the meeting of the Academic Council convened to approve or disapprove the entire syllabi of the new programme that has generated much heat. “We will be protesting outside the venue, we will be meeting every AC member and handing out literature on the various failings of the course as well as the loopholes in the syllabi,” said Abha Dev Habib, member of the ‘Save DU’ campaign which plans to continue with its protest outside the University Grants Commission later in the day. “The university does not have permission from the UGC to start this new structure. It is in the rules that a gap of six months should pass before the university can run this course after getting permission from the UGC. We have already written to the UGC Chairman about this,” she added.

Many of the AC members also plan to put forth their own agenda. “I am not against the concept itself, but I am alarmed at the recent news that the first batch will suffer, be made guinea pigs. There are assurances that there will be a provision for revision every year but I am not convinced, I am also not sure that the promised foundation courses, which offer an exit plan at the end of two years, will really equip the students for a job. It has been promised that the aim is to impart vocational skills but I don’t see it in the courses,” said AC member Ritu Goel.

“We cannot afford to adopt the hit and trial method here…I have several issues that I will be raising in the Council meeting and this has mostly to do with the hurried manner that everything is being done and the foundation courses,” she added.

Another AC member Rajesh Jha said: “The time span that is given for completing each syllabus is unacceptable and in some courses so is the content. These two issues will be my main agenda.”

“The Academic Council is the highest decision making body of the university. Around 120 members of this Council will closely examine the courses that have already been approved by the Standing Committee on Academic Matters. Once the AC approves this, their recommendations go to the Executive Meeting which has to then approve the proposal after which all formalities stand completed,” said South Campus director Umesh Rai.

However, even here things might not go according to plan as some members of the Executive Council have already written to the university asking them to cancel the meeting scheduled for May 7. They have cited rules that have been circumvented in hurriedly calling the meeting without due notice.

The AC meeting, according to some officials, might go on for about two days.