NEW DELHI: The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) today staged a demonstration outside the UGC headquarters here, protesting a workshop being organised by the higher education regulator on granting autonomy to select colleges of the varsity.
Senior DUTA office-bearers described the proposed scheme as a "dubious model of autonomy and privatisation" which "has nothing to do with academic freedom".
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had today called the meeting with principals of 35 DU colleges to discuss the modalities through which "financial autonomy can be granted to these colleges to enable them to start self-financed courses and hike student fee to generate their own resources for expansion", DUTA president Rajib Ray said.
"This dubious model of autonomy and privatisation has nothing to do with academic freedom and is borne out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and UGC's shameful unwillingness to discuss the proposal with teachers' bodies," he claimed.
Earlier, a DU professors collective too had opposed the workshop and termed it as being held in "gross violation" of the Delhi University Act.
"Autonomy has resulted in a sharp decline in the academic quality in the erstwhile prestigious colleges like Ravenshaw in Cuttack and Presidency in Kolkata. It also resulted in drastic rise in the cost of education, informalisation in faculty and staff appointments, adverse service conditions and pronounced commercialisation of courses and degree programmes," Ray said.
The DUTA has appealed to college principals to resist the move and raise its concerns with the UGC.
According to the UGC, the autonomous scheme would bring academic and operative freedom to the colleges, among other provisions.
"The Autonomous Colleges scheme is a sinister strategy, on the part of the current government, to dismember the university and wash its hands off the responsibility of ensuring that the 4,500 vacant teaching positions are filled and the second tranche of OBC expansion posts is released so that a healthy student-teacher ratio can be maintained.
"By giving administrative and financial autonomy to private trusts, it instead wishes to turn these prestigious DU colleges into teaching shops," Ray said.