New Delhi, June 23 :
The standoff between the UGC and Delhi University (DU) over the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) continued Monday with most of the university’s colleges deferring admissions, leading to confusion among lakhs of aspirants just a day before the admission process was to begin.
Even as the University Grants Commission (UGC), a statutory body of the government to coordinate and maintain the standards of university education in India, ordered the DU to scrap the FYUP “without fail” by Monday, the university was tight-lipped over the issue.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani met UGC officials to discuss the situation.
With no clarity emerging about the status of the course, S.K. Garg, president of the DU Principals Association, said: “Since there is a conflict between the two sets of guidelines, the admission process is unclear.
“We defer the admissions to Delhi University till the competent authority issues unambiguous guidelines,” Garg told reporters.
Ram Lal Anand College Principal Vijay K. Sharma told IANS that the admissions have been “deferred till a final decision is taken by either body”.
He said the decision to temporary defer the admission process was taken by the association, which has 61 college principals as its members, due to “lack of clarity and conflicting guidelines”.
“Of the 61 members, 36 were present at the meeting where the decision was taken,” Sharma told IANS.
The admission process was to begin Tuesday.
While most of the colleges said no to admissions, Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) went ahead and released a cut-off list.
“Delhi University is the authority. So it advised us to release the cut-off list and conduct admission. I am going ahead,” SRCC Principal P.C. Jain told IANS.
The college later backtracked, and withdrew the cut-off list.
“We have taken the cut-off list back and also decided to defer admissions. We don’t know what will be the rules. So we again thought over it and decided to defer it,” Jain said.
Meanwhile, the UGC, which met to chalk out a plan pertaining to the migration of the current students back to the three-year programme, stuck to its stand of restoring the three-year programme.
The commission had Saturday constituted a standing committee headed by UGC vice chairman H. Devaraj, with representatives from the academic and executive councils of DU, Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), and college principals and teachers, to advise the university on the changeover.
The commission Monday also issued a public notice against the FYUP in all leading newspapers for parents and students.
“After taking into consideration the larger interests of the students, they are hereby informed that they shall seek admission in a college of the University of Delhi only to the three-year under-graduate programmes, which were prevalent prior to the introduction of the FYUP and shall pay fees only for the three-year programme,” read the UGC public notice.
The UGC issued the public notice Monday after its two previous orders in this regard were overlooked by the DU.
The UGC’s first order was issued June 20 and the second June 22, asking DU to scrap the controversial course started in the last academic year.
The commission Sunday ordered DU that it should make admissions for undergraduate courses only under the three-year programme, which was prevalent prior to the introduction of the FYUP, or face action under the UGC Act, 1956.
As the FYUP violates the National Education Policy 1986, which advocates the 10+2+3 system, the commission said DU must revert to the earlier system.
The UGC also stated that if DU and its colleges do not comply with its directives, the university could face strict action on the UGC Act of 1956 and that the UGC would also stop its grant facility.
However, some Delhi University teachers said the UGC’s latest order was a “blatant transgression of the academic freedom and autonomy of university”.
“UGC’s order is in contradiction to its own rules, regulations and acting as a more than willing instrument of the HRD ministry. That is why UGC has conveniently turned a blind eye to the FYUP in many other public-funded and private universities,” DU executive council member Aditya Narayan Mishra said at a press conference.
Mishra added that as per the powers and functions of the commission, it can only recommend and advise the university and not order.
Amid the looming uncertainty, several students’ groups held protests.
The All India Students Association (AISA) demanded the scrapping of the FYUP.
Scores of AISA members staged a noisy protest outside Shastri Bhawan – which houses the HRD ministry – and shouted slogans and waved placards.
“We want an ordinance so that the four-year course can be changed back to the three-year course so that the future of students remain safe,” said AISA member Prince Rajora.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) celebrated the UGC order and distributed sweets.
“We wanted the FYUP to be rolled back and the UGC order is clearly in compliance with it. Further, all other issues of the students will also be put forward to the UGC,” Delhi University Students’ Union president Aman Awana told IANS.
However, some Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) students said they want the FYUP to continue.
“We want that we should be given a four-year degree like all other engineering colleges,” Nidhi Jadeja, a B.Tech computer science student at Hansraj College, told IANS.