Several DU colleges are violating the University Grants Commission’s guidelines on who can teach environmental science — a compulsory paper. According to UGC rules, the person should be a post-graduate or above in environmental science/studies. But in most DU colleges, the subject is being taught by teachers with degrees in pure science, geography or even Hindi and history.
As per RTI replies received by the All India Environmental Science Students’ Union from over 40 DU colleges, only eight have teachers with an MA in environmental science/studies or with a NET or PhD.
In 1999, the Supreme Court had made teaching of the subject compulsory in colleges. The subject was introduced in DU in 2014, after the rollback of the four-year undergraduate programme. The paper is taught as an ability enhancement compulsory course to first-year students under CBCS.
The 2014 UGC order states: “Task of teaching the module on environmental studies be entrusted with teachers who fulfil qualifications laid down by UGC. Teaching must be carried out by faculty trained at post-graduate and PhD levels in the area of environmental studies or sciences…”
In July 2015, the environmental science department had asked colleges to follow the directive. But the RTIs show that in most colleges, the subject is taught by those with a degree in botany, zoology, chemistry or physics. The RTIs were filed in July for 68 colleges. Twenty have not replied.
In Jesus and Mary College, for instance, the subject is taught by five teachers with degrees in mass communication, Hindi, history, chemistry and MCom. The situation is the same in Ramjas and Shaheed Bhagat Singh colleges.
In Ram Lal Anand College, it is taught by those with degrees in geology and microbiology. In Satyawati College (Evening), teachers have degrees in microbiology and bio-technology. At Maharaja Agrasen College, two teachers have a degree in electronics, one in physical education and one in biology.
The only colleges that have teachers with the requisite degree are Kamala Nehru College, Aurobindo College (Morning), College of Vocational Studies, Shivaji College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Zakir Hussain (Evening), Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, and DCAC.
In most, either a guest or ad-hoc teacher has been appointed, the union said. Only Satyawati College and PGDAV have permanent faculty.
Head of the Environmental Science department, M K Pandit, said, “When the subject was introduced… colleges were allowed to appoint teachers with relevant subjects. But they have continued the trend. The UGC and DU have written to them several times, but no principal has complied.”