Professor Dinesh Singh, who took over the reins as Delhi University Vice-Chancellor more than two years ago, has been at the helm of several changes sweeping through the University. The most ambitious project yet is the radical four-year undergraduate course which overhauls the very structure of the three-year undergraduate courses being offered by the University. In an interview with Vijetha S.N , he explains the reasons behind the reforms and the reality behind the accusations….
You are accused of pushing through all your ideas by alternatively bullying and manipulating the Academic Council members to vote on your behalf.
That is very ridiculous, the AC is made up of distinguished academics and is a mixture of department heads and elected teacher representatives. They cannot all be bullied by me.
The four-year undergraduate course was your vision. Some say the proposal was pushed through at an AC meeting on Christmas Eve, when many of the dissenters could have been absent.
I did not stubbornly bulldoze the reforms on my own. I do not have that sort of authority. All the ideas were first researched by a 61-member task force and then put before the AC which voted for them with an overwhelming majority; 80 for and six against to be precise.
What is the idea behind the four-year under-graduate course?
The aim of the course is to take away learning by rote and blackboard learning. It will be a practical training course and is also meant to let the students learn on the job. Using one’s hands are very important, and the course is meant to expose the students to the challenges and needs of society.
What are the reasons behind the new structure?
It is simply to enable every child to discover his calling in life, many of the young are unsure about what to do when they first start college and this course was meant to let them find out. Learning in groups and through experiences will be another factor.
Your raids on colleges on the first day of work after a vacation have not made you popular.
They were surprise goodwill visits which turned out badly when on many of the visits I found time-tables not in order, classrooms that are filthy and no classes taking place. The students are what I care about the most, the college is about them.