High drama over VC resignation; most colleges agree to UGC directive

Last Updated 24 June 2014, 16:23 IST

Delhi University Tuesday witnessed high drama over the reported resignation by its vice chancellor Dinesh Singh even as the UGC said that of the 64 colleges, 57 have agreed to "comply" with its directive to admit students only to the three-year undergraduate course.

However, the colleges sought a "clear directive" on the issue.

The drama unfolded after joint dean of students' welfare and media coordinator Malay Neerav announced that Dinesh Singh resigned in the wake of a blazing row with the University Grants Commission (UGC) over the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP).

But hours later, Sangit Ragi, deputy dean for academics, denied that Dinesh Singh had quit.

"We have persuaded him not to resign," he said after meeting the vice chancellor at his residence.

Even as confusion prevailed over the reported resignation, the UGC issued a statement to the media that "out of the 64 colleges, as many as 57 colleges have sent their replies to the UGC informing that they are complying with the directives of the UGC".

"Today, the UGC has sent another communication to the University of Delhi directing it to immediately issue letters to Delhi colleges for admitting students to the three-year undergraduate programme," the statement said.

DU, considered one of the top universities in the country, has 78 colleges affiliated to it.

The UGC also assured all the students "that no student will be put to any inconvenience and the interest of students will be protected".

The assurance came after confusion over the admission process that was scheduled to begin Tuesday but was deferred by the colleges citing "lack of clarity and conflicting guidelines".

Confirming that the DU colleges had written to the UGC, Ram Lal Anand College principal Vijay K. Sharma told IANS: "In the letter, we have asked the competent authority to give us a clear directive on how we are supposed to go forward."
A total of 2.7 lakh students have applied for the 54,000 available seats in the DU colleges.

Earlier Tuesday, the announcement of Dinesh Singh's resignation sparked wild celebrations by students bitterly opposed to the FYUP and angry reactions from those who supported the vice chancellor.

Teachers sympathetic to Dinesh Singh, whose pet project FYUP came into being last year, said he quit after the UGC threatened to freeze the university's funds over the programme and Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani refused to intervene.

By Tuesday evening, Dinesh Singh's lawyer Suraj Singh told the media that he had not quit and was still the vice chancellor.

Earlier, the news of Dinesh Singh's quitting was followed by the resignations of DU's three top officials, including pro vice chancellor Sudhish Pachauri.
The standoff between DU and the UGC over scrapping the FYUP has left 2.7 lakh applicants in the lurch.

The tussle began June 20 when the UGC directed DU to scrap the course and replace it with the original three-year programme. Despite the UGC's repeated reminders, the university remained non-committal.

Attacking Dinesh Singh and the previous UPA government, Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain said the association considers the FYUP an "irresponsible succumbing of the statutory bodies to the whims of the vice chancellor".

"In fact, the FYUP was announced to the media even before the university community had an opportunity to discuss it. The academic council accepted the recommendations by a task force constituted by the vice chancellor in unimaginable haste," the association said in a statement.

It said that before implementing the FYUP, the university did not examine the infrastructure, teachers and other necessities to accommodate 33 percent more students in each college.

But DU's executive council member Aditya Narayan Mishra described the FYUP as "good".

"The FYUP is much cheaper than the undergraduate courses in private universities," Mishra told reporters.

"UGC's latest diktat to DU to admit students in the three-year course and not in FYUP is a violation of the long standing autonomy of the DU. FYUP is not in contravention of the Delhi University Act 1922," added Mishra, who has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the matter.

The Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation seeking quashing of the FYUP, and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court.

The Congress, meanwhile, accused the Narendra Modi government of creating a "mess which was never seen in Indian education system".

"It is very unfortunate as the future of lakhs of students is in the dark. This is not about duration of a course but the government's policy.

The NSUI has been demanding a three-year course for a long time, and, therefore, the day the government took oath, they should have made it into a three-year course," said former union minister Manish Tewari.

(Published 24 June 2014, 16:22 IST)

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