Teachers from various universities joined hands with students to take out a protest march near the 10 Janpath residence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi here on Sunday demanding a roll-back of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) in Delhi University.
“Despite a denial of permission by the Delhi Police, the demonstration took place and slogans were raised against the FYUP in Delhi University, colonialisation of education and the dictatorial attitude of the University Vice-Chancellor,” said Campus Front of India-Delhi State general secretary Mehboob Sahana.
The protesters alleged that Delhi University has implemented the four-year graduation course even when there is already a huge crunch of resources in term of teachers, classrooms, hostels, libraries and laboratories. They also criticised Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju for having supported the programme in his statement in Parliament.
“The decision has been taken without conducting any debate on the issue in a transparent and democratic manner. But impression is being given through the media that all teachers were involved. On the contrary, the reality is that a task force formed by the Vice-Chancellor was instrumental in bringing all illogical changes,” alleged Mr. Sahana, adding that the changes had been disapproved by most of students and professors.
The protesters alleged that the FYUP curriculum reflected a neo-liberal policy aimed at commercialising the education system and creating avenues for private universities to flourish.
“The un-academic and anti-student structure of the proposed programme is not in consonance with the national education policy of 10+2+3. If 600 universities in the country, like Delhi University, start autonomously deciding their own education policies, there would be imbalance and collapse of our education system. Therefore, the UPA Government should immediately take action…,” said Mr. Sahana, adding that FYUP was against the interest of the nation as it would distance downtrodden students from poor economic background from quality education. He alleged that the students would not be able to afford additional expenses for one more year and those hit would primarily be students from the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and the minorities.
The protesters later submitted a memorandum to the UPA chairperson seeking her intervention. Among those who participated in the protest were professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University, including Dr. Hany Babu, Dr. S.K. Sagar, Dr. Kedar Kumar Mandal and Dr. Vijaya Venkataram. Students organisations including Campus Front of India, DSU, AISA and AISF also participated in the demonstration.