Hundreds of students and teachers from Delhi University Wednesday took out a protest march from Mandi House to Parliament Street against government policies such as graded autonomy for institutions, funding of the universities through Higher Education Funding Agency and change in policy on reservation.
Jessica Robin, a first-year student of BA programme at DU’s Jesus and Mary College, said, “I am here to protect the rights of those who want to study but cannot afford expensive institutions. This is to protect our central universities, which also concerns my future in the long run.” Like Robin, many DU students participated in the People’s March organised by Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA), raising slogans to protect public-funded education.
Ikra Farooqee, a second-year student of Lady Shri Ram College, said, “Our teachers held meetings and told us about these policies. We thought that it is important to fight for the rights of the marginalised as well as our future.” The DUTA had organised a five-day strike to protest against the proposed reforms. Meanwhile, Delhi University sent a letter to the dean, head and principals of respective colleges, reminding them of the Code of Professional Ethics.
The teachers have been asked to organise extra classes for the “academic loss due to strikes”. “This is issued with the hope that the employees of the university will not resort to any act that may affect functioning of the university,” said a letter from the Joint Registrar.
Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia also participated in the protest. “This is not only a fight to save universities and colleges, but to protect our country. This is for our children’s future ,” he said.