At a marathon meeting lasting over 12 hours on Tuesday, Delhi University’s Academic Council (AC) passed the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) from the next academic year. However, 16 elected members dissented and alleged there was no proper discussion on the matter.
“NEP has been passed and it will be implemented from the academic year 2022-23. Some people dissented; we have recorded their dissent,” Acting Vice-Chancellor P C Joshi told The Indian Express.
The matter will now to go to the Executive Council, which has just two elected members, making its implementation certain.
This means, from next year, DU will shift to a four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), and the MPhil course will be scrapped. As per the NEP, there will be a multiple entry/exit scheme (MEES), whereby students will be able to enter and exit the programme at various stages. The Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) will also be implemented, through which students will have the option of earning credits from doing courses in other universities and colleges which will be added to their academic ‘bank’.
The Standing Committee on Academic Matters had Tuesday passed the agenda, with three of its 27 members dissenting.
However, almost all teacher groups on campus — barring the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers’ Front — have vehemently opposed the NEP implementation from 2022, terming the process “hasty” and alleging there was not enough consultation with stakeholders.
On Tuesday, some AC members said the NEP agenda was brought in the last 15-20 minutes of the meeting, and “passed without discussion”.
“The University of Delhi has not asked for detailed feedback of the report of the NEP implementation from all stakeholders including members of all relevant statutory bodies… The report must be sent for discussion to all statutory bodies, like the Committees of Courses, Staff Councils, Faculties, etc. before taking it to the Academic Council,” 16 of the 26 elected AC members said in their dissent note.
“The implementation of NEP 2020 will see a massive reduction of the current workload… It is clearly stated that Multiple Entry and Exit Schemes (MEES) and Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) will be implemented in DU in such a manner that only core courses will be left untouched and students can earn credits for all other (non-Core courses) from other universities. If we take into account that the proposed Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Discipline with Research, a student will have to get total credits of 196 in 4 years. Now, Core Courses comprise total credits of 84, which mean 42.86% of the entire 4 years. So, technically then DU will be allowing 57.14% of total credits to be earned in 4 years from other universities. This will have a direct negative impact on the workload and potentially we can straightaway see loss of around 57% of the current workload,” they wrote.
Mithuraaj Dhusiya, an AC member who dissented, said “no substantial discussion was allowed” on the matter of FYUP with MEES or on other agenda items.
“No voting was allowed and the elected members were asked to deposit dissent notes. This is a subversion of statutory processes. Discussion in the Standing Committee, with 27 members, is not the same as discussion in the Academic Council with over 100 members. This shows that the DU administration lacks confidence in the FYUP model and is avoiding addressing important issues,” he said.
Another AC member Naveen Gaur, who signed the dissent note, said, “They may claim it has been passed in the AC but there was hardly any discussion on the agenda. They just took the dissent notes and said they will address the issues, and went away.”
However, Joshi said enough time was given. “First of all, the Standing Committee meeting only discussed the NEP the day before yesterday in detail. Yesterday too, the NEP was on the agenda – but they chose to speak of other things during the zero hour. They could have talked about NEP, who prevented them? It only came up for discussion late at night because they discussed other issues. We were very democratic,” he said.