DU’s Left &Right find middle ground on four-year course

DUTA president Nandita Narain says teacher groups were united in their protest against the UG programme

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:September 19, 2013 1:38 am

In an unprecedented move,teachers belonging to the Left and Right-wing organisations have come together to pitch a common teachers’ front on a range of issues,including the implementation of the four-year undergraduate programme.

While it is alleged that the centrist Academics for Action and Development (AAD) is hand-in-glove with the university administration over the issue of the four-year course,right-wing National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF),along with the Left-leaning Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF),is raising concerns over the problems with the four-year format.

“To a large extent,there is some consensus among most teacher groups over the structure of the four-year undergraduate programme. It is not just the question of NDTF and DTF coming together. We are appealing to all teachers to gather under the banner of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) over a range of issues — permanent appointment of teachers,their service conditions and the four-year undergraduate programme,” NDTF member Ajay Bhagi said.

Echoing similar concerns and stating that there was some common ground between the two groups,NDTF President Raj Kumar Bhatia said,“We were not opposing the four-year course blindly. We said the implementation should not be hurried. We felt the implications the course would have on students and teachers should be understood. The university authorities were bent upon implementing it this year.”

Calling the collaboration “historic”,Nandita Narain,newly elected DUTA president,said,“Teachers have realised that for the sake of the university,education and our students,we have to come together and put forward a unified front.”

Adding to this,Abha Dev Habib,a DTF member who teaches Physics at Miranda House,said,“Over the last two years,various campaigns have seen different sections of the teaching community coming together,be it the Save DU campaign and Joint Action Front for Democratic Education (JAFDE). The understanding is dawning among teachers that they will to stand together and oppose the changes which are being brought about to destroy the university. We will survive only if there are joint movements.”

The past few years have seen the teachers’ association raising concerns and launching movements against a slew of academic reforms in the university — from the implementation of the semester system to the four-year undergraduate programme. These demands,however,has failed to halt the rolling out of these changes.

According to a section of teachers,the situation arose because of the polarisation of teachers into various camps.

“In the last six-seven years,teacher groups have put forward their own party agenda. Moreover,these teachers have started holding protests under the name of their organisations rather than under DUTA,” Bhagi said.

Narain also welcomed the stand of the Delhi University Students’ Union on the four-year course. All candidates of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad who got elected to DUSU this time have demanded a rollback of the four-year course.

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