In a sign of protest, groups of students and teachers from Delhi University under the banner of Delhi Univversity Teacher's Association (DUTA) today marched to the Vice Chancellor's office. The protest was staged against the move by Delhi University officials to encourage colleges into applying for autonomous status. Currently, the university has a unique federal structure which allows the constituent colleges to get 95% funding from University Grants Commission (UGC). The move has been introduced at the behest of the Government as part of its policy to bring down funding n Higher Education as enunciated in the recent Budget through the declaration on autonomous colleges, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), and Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA). According to the new policy the government will allocate loans rather than grants to universities.
The conversion of constituent colleges to autonomous ones is being pushed through a set of Guidelines brought out by the UGC under the XIIth Plan.The DUTA members alleged that certain university officials were pressurizing chairpersons of governing bodies of colleges to apply for autonomous status.
The autonomy will only provide the management more power to start new courses and increase the tuition fee. The DUTA members also argued that autonomous status will only hamper the service condition of teaching and non-teaching staff.
The DUTA members have written a letter to the Vice Chancellor to disband such illegal committees which have been set up to examine applications for grant of autonomous status. They also demanded that the university officials stop pressurizing colleges into applying for autonomy. They said that Delhi University should instead demand autonomous status for the University which continuously witnesses interference from MHRD/UGC.
DUTA members have decided to stage a protest march to Parliament on March 29. The march will be attended by students, and teaching and non-teaching staff from the university. The march will begin at Mandi House at 11:00 am.
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