DUTA opposes autonomy for colleges

DUTA opposes autonomy for colleges

Says institutions will become inaccessible to commoners

DUTA has objected to the Union human resource development ministry’s plan to grant autonomous status to DU colleges like St Stephen’s, Shri Ram College of Commerce and Lady Shri Ram, apart from Loyola College in Chennai and St Xavier’s College in Mumbai.

According to members of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), separating prestigious colleges will give disproportionate powers to the governing bodies and managing committees of these colleges.

“Having unfettered freedom to raise their own revenue through fees, such colleges will make themselves inaccessible to the common people,” said DUTA president Amar Deo Sharma.

But a section of teachers feel that autonomy will give academic freedom.
DUTA members cited the example of Presidency College in Kolkata, which was facing severe financial crunch. It became Presidency University after getting delinked from Jadavpur University.

In November 2012, the teaching and non-teaching staff of Lady Shri Ram College for Women had come out with a resolution to oppose the proposal of turning it into an autonomous college. According to members of the staff association, at that time, the principal had also objected to the college being given an autonomous status.
“The government has made no attempt to even enquire whether teachers and students of these colleges would want such autonomy,” said Sharma, appealing the MHRD to withdraw its decision immediately.

“Instead of giving academic independence to students and teachers, the managing committees of these colleges will be interested in further commercialising education that they seek to impart,” he said.

According to DUTA members, chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s recent announcement expressing her intention to convert Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) under DU to an independent technological university, is arbitrary.

“This had happened in the case of Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) in the past, and the disastrous consequences of converting DCE into Delhi Technological University is for everyone to see. High level of administrative malfunction, faculty crunch and constant rebuke are the norms. DCE was at least answerable to DU,” said a DUTA member.

DUTA opposes such “doomed-to-fail” experiments in academics, added the member. “Instead of opening new institutes and expanding the public-funded higher education sector, Delhi government has found it politically convenient to appropriate DU’s colleges,” added Sharma.

Fee hike in DU

With Delhi University implementing the four-year undergraduate programme from this academic year, several colleges have decided to raise the fees for various courses being offered, reports IANS.

The decision to hike the fees is taken by the colleges and the university has nothing to do with it.

“There has been no directive from the university. The decision to raise the fees is taken by the respective colleges,” Avinashi Kapoor, the varsity’s joint dean of students’ welfare, said. The DU colleges hiking their course fees include Sri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC), Hans Raj, St Stephen’s, Kirori Mal, Lady Sri Ram and Ramjas.

“There has been a hike of just Rs1,000 for Economics and Commerce programmes,” SRCC principal P C Jain said.

St Stephen’s College has raised the fees by five-eight percent for the science and humanities courses.

“There would be a hike but it won’t be more than 10 per cent. The hike will be for all the courses except for the Bachelors of Technology (Btech) in Electronics,” Hans Raj College principal K V Kavatia said.

However, colleges like Hindu, Miranda House and Lady Irwin are not raising their fees.
“There will be no fee hike in Hindu College. We have already printed the fee structure in our prospectus,” Hindu College principal Praduman Kumar said.

Miranda House principal Pratibha Jolly said: “We have not taken a decision on the fee hike so far."