Semester trouble: DU teachers complain of intimidation

Amid a fervent debate on the issue of semesterisation of education in Delhi University, many teachers are perplexed over what they call an "intimidatory" tactics being used by the administration.

Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 11:55 AM IST

New Delhi: Amid a fervent debate on the
issue of semesterisation of education in Delhi University,
many teachers are perplexed over what they call an
incomprehensible hurry of imposing the system and the
"intimidatory" tactics being used by the administration.

As the University readies to roll out new syllabi
under the system, there is a feeling among a section of
teachers that they are being pushed into falling in line with
the change being pushed so aggressively from outside.
The teachers, who are protesting under the banner of a
Joint Action Body, have termed their protest as an "academic
resistance movement". They say a proper deliberation and
debate should take place to replace an 89-year-old system of
education rather than a quickfire overhaul.

"Inputs from teachers have not been taken till now.
Why wasn`t any feedback taken from us when it is we who will
actually teach in the new mode? A uniform policy cannot be
followed for all courses," says Professor Rajesh Kumar, a
member of Democratic Teachers` Front and president of staff
association Ramlal Anand College said.
Prof Vinita Chandra, a member of the JAB, who teaches
English at Ramjas College, says the teachers are actually
scared after they raised a banner narrowing down to a list of
"wrongs" involved in introducing the system.

"The University is using a lot of intimidatory
tactics. We are scared. I am sure I will be pulled up in one
way or the other. Even we do not know what will happen. We are
powerless but still hopeful," she says.

The protesting teachers, who have adopted unique ways
of lodging their protest like holding classes in lawns outside
the V-C`s office and organising candle light vigils, say they
are not averse to the semester system per se but the way in
which it is being "imposed" on them without any proper,
defined framework.

They alleged that the department of social science
recently received "intimidatory" notes, asking them to give
the list of those who have voted against the system.

The language used in the "note" has also incensed the
community, says Prof Hari Sen, Department of History (DU).

"If the administration is so keen on revising the
syllabi, do it on reasonable grounds, in a way that does
justice to the subject and does not kill our way of teaching
that is not only about subjects but also about the overall
development of students... A University can`t and shouldn`t
feed directly to the market, its role is also of producing
intellectuals," says Prof Pramesh Ratnakar, who teaches
English at Deen Dayal Upadhyay college.

Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, however, is unperturbed
by the objections and hopeful that "good sense" will prevail.

"I believe the University will be semesterised by
2011. Good sense will prevail. It`s almost done. We have made
a huge progress," Singh said.