Delhi University colleges defer admissions to undergraduate courses

With the Centre refusing to intervene in a row over the University Grants Commission (UGC) order to the Delhi University to scrap its Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP), a section of its teachers on Monday termed the move as a conspiracy to destroy the varsity`s autonomy.

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: The row over the controversial four-year undergraduate programme took a new turn as colleges affiliated to Delhi University on Monday deferred the admission to the academic session 2014-15.

After an emergency meeting of the Principals Association of the Delhi University, its president SK Garg announced that they decided to defer the admission process, that was to begin tomorrow, until clear-cut guidelines are issued by the competent authority on the issue.

The decision came hours after the expiry of a deadline set by University Grants Commission to the Delhi University to send its report of compliance of its order that admissions will take place only under the three-year undergraduate programme and not the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP)

Garg said there was a conflict between the guidelines issued by the university and those issued by the UGC.

"As of now, we do not have any clarity. Due to this conflict, it is not possible for us to conduct admission process. Thus the Principals` Association has resolved that unless unambiguous guidelines are issued, the admission process will be deferred. 36 principals were present, the remaining college heads will be informed about the decision," he said, as per PTI.

According to Garg, the decision has been taken in the interest of the students, parents and colleges.

Meanwhile, with the Centre refusing to intervene in a row over the UGC order to the DU to scrap FYUP, a section of its teachers today termed the move as a conspiracy to destroy the varsity`s autonomy.

Speaking to reporters, former Delhi University Teachers` Association (DUTA) president Aditya Narayan Mishra said, “UGC letter is an attack on DU`s autonomy. The issue is of grave importance since the varsity`s whole autonomy has come under attack.“

Claiming that there are various irregularities in rules governing several centrally-funded universities, Mishra said, “It is the university`s right to decide the course structure. Tomorrow will we be told to propagate government`s policies in our classrooms.”

“UGC is merely doing what the new HRD Minister Smriti Irani wants it to do. This is a step towards removing DU`s autonomy. A central university such as Allahabad University also has four-year programme. Six centrally-funded institutions are also running four-year courses. Why is DU being made an exception?” he asked.

“Several universities and institutions have four and five-year courses for a long time. UGC has nothing to say about this. Which national policy says DU and other university teachers retire at 65, universities in Bengal have retirement age at 58,” Mishra stated.

Meanwhile, as per sources, DU has not taken approval of the visitor (President of India) for the FYUP, nor the mandatory clearance of UGC. For this reason, a section believes that the FYUP has no legal validity.

The UGC chairman and DU VC met today to sort out the mess.

At the same time, reports suggested that there was clash in DU`s North Campus during a TV show. As per reports, a pro-FYUP DU professor was assaulted in the clash and FIR was lodged against unknown students.

On the other hand, DU Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh is said to be trying to garner support from various DU college principals. Singh believes the four-year structure introduces a healthy interdisciplinary approach. However, a section of varsity teachers say they were not consulted or given enough time to redesign the courses.

Earlier, Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani said that her ministry will not intervene in a row between the UGC and the Delhi University regarding admissions under its controversial FYUP.

Talking to reporters, the Minister said, “St Stephens and Delhi University are fully aware that UGC is supreme. The HRD Ministry will not intervene in it. The Delhi University must comply with the UGC order.”

The statement from the HRD Minister came shortly after her meeting with the UGC officials even as various students` bodies protested outside the HRD Ministry and in the campus of DU over the FYUP.

Member of AISA, NSUI and ABVP protested over the FYUP and demanded a clarification from the university officials over the issue.

Congress leader Manish Tewari questioned the UGC asking why was it silent when the university had implemented the FYUP.

"Where was the UGC then if they had reservations? Why didn`t they advise the DU not to implement it. Has the UGC become a scapegoat? What`s going to happen to the students," Tewari asked.
He also said that the university has become a laughing stock because of the issue. "This makes the university a complete laughing stock. It is reflective of the attitude of the NDA towards institutions. If they trifle and tamper with autonomy of the institutions it will not augur well for the country," he said.

Delhi University has to submit a compliance report to the UGC. The UGC asked the varsity and all its colleges to conduct admissions only under the three-year undergraduate programme and not under the FYUP.

In a directive issued on Sunday, the UGC had warned DU that any deviation from its order will have serious consequences. The UGC direction for the coming academic session came a day after the university struck a defiant note, rejecting the commission`s directive to scrap the FYUP.

"Under no circumstances shall the University of Delhi or any of the colleges under it admit students to the FYUP for academic year 2014-15," the Commission had said in a statement on Sunday.

"And further that any deviation from this directive either by the University of Delhi or any of the colleges under it shall be deemed to be in contravention of the UGC Act, 1956 with its consequences," it had further said.

Officials said that disobeying the UGC direction could spell trouble for DU as it could stand to lose grants and degrees offered by the varsity could be de-recognised.

The UGC said that it would be ensured that students, who were admitted in 2013-14 in FYUP when it was introduced, are able to migrate to the three-year programme.

In the statement, the UGC had also said "admission for academic year 2014-15 at the undergraduate level in the general degree programmes (including the Honours programme in different subjects of Humanities, Science and Commerce) in various colleges under the University of Delhi shall only be to the three-year undergraduate programme which was offered prior to the introduction of the FYUP".

The UGC has constituted a ten-member standing committee with representations from teachers, students and statutory bodies to advice DU for the implementation of the directive.

They would ensure that students, who were admitted in 2013-14 are able to migrate to the three-year programme, without any hassle and acquire necessary academic and other competencies during the next two academic years, it said.

DU, however, stood by the programme and in a reply to the commission maintained that it had followed due procedure. The varsity on Sunday said it had revised the programme to make it compliant with the National Policy on Education (NPE).

BJP had during the elections promised to scrap the FYUP if it come to power.

The UGC is a statutory organisation responsible for co-ordination, determination and maintenance of standards of education as well of disbursal of funds for universities in the country.

With PTI inputs