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Leaderless, rudderless Delhi University

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By Sidharth Mishra

The much delayed admissions to various colleges and courses of Delhi University have begun. Soon, there is going to be a big rush for admission seekers and for some days headlines would be talking about the high cut-off marks. Soon the admissions would get over and Delhi University would be conveniently forgotten especially as far as any good news is concerned.

Thereafter, it would be about candidates splurging during the students’ union elections and the teachers being perennially in agitation mode over one issue or other. Though the desire and will of the teachers’ association is also under doubt as they in past years are not known to have fought a do or die battle over any issue.

Their agitations is largely in blackmail mode and gets withdrawn as soon as they are placated with individual favours; or how else would have the non-payment of salary to the teachers and staff of the 12 Delhi University colleges dragged on for so long without any solution in sight. Finally the straving teachers went to court, which has given them relief.

While the teachers and employees have face the brunt of the unjustifiable action of the Delhi Government, the fact also remains that the situation has arisen because Delhi University in past five years has remained completely leaderless and rudderless. The present Vice Chancellor Professor Yogesh K Tyagi has been more conspicuous by his absence from public than delivery of any good on the campus.

The issue of non-payment of salary should have been taken by the Vice Chancellor with the Delhi Government but he has shown least concern despite the fact that all these 12 colleges are constituent colleges of Delhi University and governed as per the university acts and ordinances. Any Vice Chancellor in his place would have defended his teachers and taken up the matter with the Central government but Tyagi has not even paid heed to the matter even as Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia claims that the crisis has been Tyagi’s making.

A vice chancellor of Delhi University functions in council that is through a team of senior academicians designated as Deans, Directors and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor. For administrative matters s/he is assisted by Registrar and Finance Officer. Delhi University all through Tyagi’s tenure has not seen a fully-functional team and the people who have even been appointed to these crucial positions, they are holding charge in addition to the work of their existing office.

Can a university be governed in this ad hoc manner without facing academic setbacks? Delhi University in the past few years has been living just on its traditions and the past laurels. Several colleges are functioning under officiating principals, in most of the colleges the teaching-learning work is being done by ad hoc faculty members and since their appoint is ad hoc many a times proper scrutiny of their credentials are given a go by.

During Vice-Chancellor Tyagi’s tenure, for the first time we heard of students agitating lack of teaching-learning infrastructures. Courses in Delhi University are being run on out dated syllabi. The honours course in journalism is a case in point. While most of the journalism schools in Delhi affiliated to Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) have embraced newer and larger topics of mass communication and digital media, DU is stuck on age-old syllabus.

An education institution is not known only by its heritage buildings and age old laurels. To remain relevant, they need to make consistent progress and update regularly. With Professor Tyagi having ensured five years of adhocism, there is no doubt about Delhi University staring at a very gloomy future. 

(First Published in The Morning Standard:  

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