Following months of agitation by teachers of Delhi University on a range of issues – the implementation of the four-year undergraduate programme to the appointment of teachers – nearly 9,000 teachers will go to polls on Thursday to elect the new members of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA).
While four teachers are contesting with each other for the post of DUTA president,there are 22 teachers for 15 seats of the DUTA executive.
In 2011,after a gap of four years,left-leaning Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) had defeated centrist Academics for Action and Development (AAD).
Nandita Narain,DTF presidential candidate who teaches mathematics at St Stephens College,has been a critic of the four-year undergraduate course introduced in Delhi University this year.
According to Narain,left-leaning teachers had been campaigning against the slew of academic reforms the implementation of the semester system and the four-year undergraduate programme which have been brought about in Delhi University in the last few years.
Even though AAD was leading the agitation against the semester system,we were actively participating in the movement. Be it the four-year undergraduate course or the semester system,we too have opposed these changes, Narain said.
This year,the university administration has also been dragged into the DUTA elections with one section alleging that it was trying to influence the outcome of the elections.
According to a statement by the DTF,presidential candidate of AAD-INTEC was introduced during a meeting called by the university administration to discuss the four-year course.
Another group of teachers under AAD also slammed the university administration for trying to influence the ad-hoc teachers in favour of a candidate.
On the eve of DUTA elections,J Khuntia,Chairman of AAD group,said,We appeal to the university authorities to remain impartial and co-operate with the process of DUTA election as has been done in the past.
DTF,on the other hand,urged teachers to come out and vote in large numbers to defeat nefarious designs on the part of the university administration.
The practice of suspending classes,specifically in off-campus colleges,has been in place to enable teachers to participate in DUTA elections which take place once in two years… The Election Officer has written to principals requesting them to suspend classes after 9.30 am. If this request has been withdrawn,then this has been done under pressure from the DU administration, Shashwati Mazumdar,DTF president,said.