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Strip Delhi Govt of power to govern DU colleges

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By Sidharth Mishra

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a garage of loud mouths; there are ample evidences to the same. The people of Delhi acted foolish when they elected them in 2015 to run the Delhi Government that too with the brute majority in legislative assembly. In the past two years, they have acted always in most irresponsible manner and used a unique tool of calling special session of Delhi Assembly on their whims and fancies to discuss whenever a “grave matters” stared Delhi in its face. With “talking tamasha” done, they believe they have delivered on the challenge of governance.
They have no past record of governance and in the last two years they have neither showed the attitude nor the aptitude to run the city and address the issues of its residents. Last week they called a special session of Delhi Assembly where a resolution was passed to reserve 85% seats for the children of the residents of Delhi in the 28 colleges, which Delhi Government funds.
Let there be a clarification first. There are just 13 colleges which are fully funded by the Delhi government, in the remaining 15, 95 percent of the funds come from the University Grants Commission, thus Delhi Government’s claim on them is uncalled for.
This also shows that their assertion of funding 28 colleges is based on half-truth, as has
 been their claims in other matters too like Government schools improving results in CBSE examinations. Holding the special session and passing the resolution moved by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on reserving seats in colleges was nothing more than a political gimmick to attract attention of those who may have lost in the race of merit.
As a teacher leader put it, the Delhi Government resorted to this regressive step after having failed its promise of opening 20 new colleges every year. Treating Delhi Government colleges differently will have adverse implications for service conditions of the teachers and staff, and any amendment to the DU Act will dilute the central university character.
Given their obsession for power and lack of exposure to quality education, it would be wise for the AAP leaders to find out the true nature and character of Delhi University as envisaged by its founding fathers. The present main campus of Delhi University was built by legendary educationist Sir Maurice Gwyer. At the time of the inauguration of the campus in March, 1940, Sir Maurice in a radio broadcast outlined what he saw as the future of the University. 
According to historian Ramchandra Guha, Gwyer called, first of all, for ‘the transfer of all the constituent colleges of the University to a common site where they may stand together as a solid token of that sense of unity and purpose which is perhaps the most vital element in University life; secondly, the extension of the science laboratories and an increase in present facilities for the teaching of science; and thirdly, the improvement and development of the University Library.
Gwyer went on to say that while the other and older Universities of India were strongly rooted in their respective towns and provinces, “Delhi University should not be afraid to draw its strength from a whole sub-continent. It should be a symbol of what India herself, above and beyond all her creeds or castes, can offer to the world.”
Gwyer also spoke of the importance of the University reducing its reliance on the public exchequer. He hoped that “the time will come when to endow a chair of learning at Delhi University will seem to rich men a way, not less noble than others, of perpetuating their memory.” He ended his talk in words that rang true then, and ring truer today:
“I am speaking tonight more especially to the citizens of Delhi. Delhi University will always, I hope, be their University as well as a University for all India; and I look forward to the time when they will feel a great pride in its fortunes and in its work. I hope it will be a civic centre in the truest sense, and that those of its sons who are educated within its walls will learn there how to combine a love of their city with a love of their country, to look beyond the immediate conflicts of community and party to the greater unity which lies behind them, and to remember that of all the civic virtues for which a University should stand, a love of truth, a sense of proportion and a spirit of tolerance are not the least.”
Coming back to Sisodia’s resolution, as mentioned earlier, it was mere gimmick to overcome the failure to increase infrastructure for higher education. The problem has to be addressed in an innovative manner as was done by the Delhi Government led by Sahib Singh Verma, which set up Guru Gobind Singh Indra Prastha University in 1998. This University reserves 85 percent seats for Delhi students but these colleges offer only professional courses.
The Sheila Dikshit government opened Ambedkar University of Delhi, which has courses for the humanities students. During her term as chief minister both the universities achieved great levels of excellence. A roadmap had been prepared to expand the two state universities but it has hit a roadblock in the past two years as the AAP government has taken to cheap populism then address issues with sincerity.
Delhi University’s character cannot be allowed be diluted. Rather the Centre should take away the remaining 28 colleges from the purview of Delhi Government. It can be done in two phases. In the first phases, the 15 colleges with 5 percent Delhi Government funding could be acquired and in the second the remaining 15. Let the blackmail of the university at the hands of worthless political leaders end.

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