Ahead of DU academic body meeting on 2047 ‘strategic plan’, teachers flag concerns

Academic Council member, DTF say document plagiarised, will lead to commercialisation of education

December 06, 2023 01:31 am | Updated 01:31 am IST - New Delhi

Presently ranked 407, DU aims to break into the world’s top 100 universities by 2047, its centenary year.

Presently ranked 407, DU aims to break into the world’s top 100 universities by 2047, its centenary year. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

A day before Delhi University’s apex academic body is set to discuss a proposed plan to break into the world’s top 100 higher education institutions, a section of teachers on Tuesday alleged that the document was plagiarised and could lead to “commercialisation” of education.

At its 1017th emergent meeting on Wednesday, the DU Academic Council (AC) will take up the revised ‘Strategic Plan of the University (2022-2047)’. Presently ranked 407 in the QS World University Rankings, DU aims to enter the top 100 by 2047 — the centenary of India’s independence.

Shared with the AC on December 1 and accessed by The Hindu, the 52-page document contains an analysis of DU’s ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges’ (SWOC), and an implementation plan to continue DU’s journey by “building on [the] values that have propelled the university through its glorious past and well into the future.”

The implementation plan outlines several initiatives for DU to be recognised internationally and nationally as a teaching and research university. These include a drive to attract the best students for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from India and across the globe, introducing cross-disciplinary courses, modernising facilities, establishing and nurturing university-industry interactions, achieving globalisation as well as mobilising resources, among others.

‘Plagiarised’ document

Hitting out at the document, AC member Maya John said it was “heavily plagiarised” from different sources, including the Ohio State University Advancement Strategic Plan, the University of Sheffield Vision and Strategic Plan, and the Strategic Plan 2016-21 of Kenya’s Friends College Kaimosi, among others.

“the primary purpose of the proposed vision document is to make way for intense commercialisation and colonisation of the academic world,” added Ms. John, an assistant professor of history at Jesus and Mary College.

Letter to V-C

Meanwhile, the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) urged DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh to withdraw the strategic plan and highlighted the alleged plagiarisation by citing the documents from which various elements have been lifted.

In a 20-page letter to the V-C, the DTF wrote, “the strategic plans of other institutions whose realities are completely different from ours have been presented as ours. We know that most of these institutions have been forced to depend on the market for funding and our uncritical acceptance of the same underscores the design to conform to the demands of the global edu-business.”

the teachers said the document is merely a template for commercialisation of universities and surrender of the universities to private businesses which will lead to fee hikes, shrinking of public funded education.

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