Open Letter to the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University sign now

The Vice Chancellor,
Delhi University,
Delhi 110 007

Dear Prof. Dinesh Singh,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you with regard to the steps currently being taken by your administration, to bring the undergraduate courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences into the semester system.

We wish to express our deep concern about the advisability of taking these steps, given that the matter of semesterisation is currently pending hearing before the Delhi High Court. The very fact that a Writ Petition filed against the semester system has been admitted shows that the High Court, in its wisdom, has found sufficient merit for hearing the case. In spite of this, if your administration proceeds with unwarranted haste to continue with the implementation of the semester system, it is tantamount to questioning the wisdom of the honourable High Court. It may also be seen to be dangerously bordering on prejudicing, or attempting to prejudice, the outcome of the case, even before it is heard. We are unable to understand the reason for such completely unseemly and improper urgency being displayed by your administration, in forcing the matter further. It is also necessary to point out that,taking these steps will be a complete waste of time, energy and resources if the High Court eventually decides against the semester system.

As you are aware, several departments have expressed their complete inability to magically produce revised syllabi in conformity with a semester system structure that has not yet been made available. Even if the structure was known, it would be an unrealistic expectation, to generate a revised syllabus in any discipline, in time for the new academic session. You have reportedly remarked that there is no time for a thorough revision of the syllabi, and that therefore your administration intends to simply bifurcate the existing syllabi and somehow adjust them into the as-yet-unknown structure proposed for the semester system. If this is the case, we must protest that teaching such a mangled and distorted syllabus would be an extremely disturbing prospect for the entire undergraduate teaching community. If for some reason you are not concerned about this fact, we must also point out to you that it is the student community that is ultimately going to be most badly affected by such hacking, in the name of reform of the syllabus. We request you therefore to at least keep the students interests in mind, in charting your course of action.

Finally, we wish to express our strong disapproval of the irregular and unwarranted methods being used to push the semester system. For instance, despite repeated requests, the structure to be adopted in the semesterisation of the Humanities and Social Sciences is yet to be revealed. Without transparency on this matter, it will seem that there are irreparable flaws in attempting any structure for a semester system that your administration simply does not wish to reveal. In any case, whatever structure is revealed must first be passed by the duly constituted statutory bodies of the University, before we can even begin to adopt it, and undertake appropriate syllabus revision. Furthermore, there are reports that the Courses Committees in various departments are being constituted without following proper procedure and statutory guidelines, precisely in order to facilitate the statutorily required passing of bifurcated syllabi in the Courses Committees, in unwarranted and inexplicable haste. In this connection, we would like to remind you that the earlier orders passed by the honourable High Court do not in any way authorize the University administration to push departments into adopting new structures and syllabi in a rush.

We also wish to remind you of your promise that you would adhere to all regulations and statutory requirements, in bringing about the semester system. We, the undersigned, therefore ask that you maintain this promise not just in letter but in spirit as well. In that spirit, we ask that you cease all initiatives undertaken or proposed by your administration towards implementation of the semester system, until these initiatives have been discussed in the appropriate statutory bodies. Specifically, we also ask you to immediately cease any action on the semester system, till the matter pending before the honourable High Court is cleared.
We do not need to emphasize that taking such a step will win you enormous goodwill and trust in the teaching community.

CC to: Heads of all Departments, Faculty of Arts,
Heads of all Department, Faculty of Social Sciences.
President, DUTA.

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Sonia MosesBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
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Delhi University


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