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Explained: The controversy over Delhi’s College of Art admissions

The College of Art has begun its admission process under Ambedkar University. How is it associated with Ambedkar University? Why is the announcement of admissions drawing criticism?

The College of Art (CoA), New Delhi. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The College of Art (COA) has formally begun its admission process under Ambedkar University, drawing criticism from teachers and elected members of the Executive Council and Academic Council members.

How did College of Art come to be associated with Ambedkar University?

The issue of the college’s “de-affiliation” from Delhi University (DU) started in March 2021. The COA, which is fully funded by the Delhi government, has been affiliated with DU since its inception in 1942. Last March, the Delhi government announced that its cabinet had approved the merger of the college with Ambedkar University, which is a Delhi state university.

“The Delhi cabinet has… approved the merger of Delhi University’s College of Arts, functioning under the Directorate of Training and Technical Education, and Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management (DIHRM) affiliated with GGSIP University functioning under the Directorate of Higher Education. Together they will now be part of Dr BR Ambedkar University,” it had then said in a statement.

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Admissions to the COA had not taken place in 2021-2022 because of this tussle.

Has Delhi University agreed to this merger?

The office of the Lieutenant Governor had given in-principle approval to the merger subject to its de-affiliation from DU. However, the Executive Council, DU’s highest statutory body, had rejected the proposal for de-affiliation.

In April, DU VC Yogesh Singh said he had written to the College of Art asking it to conduct admissions as part of DU as it had done earlier.

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Who has announced admissions to COA under Ambedkar University?

Last week, Ambedkar University issued a notification stating that the Delhi government had asked it to initiate admissions to the 2022-2023 academic year.

“With reference to letter… dated 28/01/2022 from the Govt of NCT of Delhi, Department of Training & Technical Education – Secretariat Branch, it has been stated in the letter to initiate the process of admission in Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) & Master of Fine Arts (MFA) courses in College of Art w.e.f. academic session 2022-23, as a part of Dr. B R Ambedkar University Delhi,” said AUD Dean (Student Services) in the notification.

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What is the criticism of this announcement?

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This week, 11 teachers including elected EC and AC members wrote to the vice-chancellor appealing for intervention by DU, stating that this move was a violation of the EC’s decision.

“Such an unfortunate action is in contravention of the Acts and Statutes of Delhi University and also violates the decision of the Executive Council which has duly rejected the de-affiliation of the College of Arts from Delhi University. It should be noted here that the Lt Governor has clearly ruled that any such step towards merger is subject to ‘the de affiliation of College of Arts from Delhi University,” they had written.

First published on: 19-05-2022 at 12:08 IST
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