The political slugfest that had ensued over the past week between the UGC and the Delhi University over the Four Year Undergraduate programme FYUP, came to a head today with the resignation of Delhi university Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh.
Singh resigned on Tuesday afternoon, refusing to comply with the UGC’s orders. The UGC had directed DU to scrap the four year course which was introduced last year, by Monday noon and go back to the three year degree system.
With the BJP led government determined to implement its poll promise of scrapping the FYUP, the VC’s resignation is being seen as a first victory for HRD minister Smriti Irani.
Meanwhile a section of teachers from DU led by Executive Council member Aditya Narayan Mishra sat on a hunger strike today protesting the “encroachment on Delhi University’s autonomy by the UGC”.
Although the HRD ministry went at great lengths to claim that it was “not interfering” in the matter and it was for UGC and DU to resolve it, the HRD minister herself has been monitoring the situation and meeting concerned officials.
After meeting up with the UGC chairman Ved Prakash yesterday, moments after news of Singh’s resignation came in today, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Delhi University was summoned by the ministry to determine the future course of action.
Sources said that Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh was left without an option since UGC had pushed him into a corner. Singh refused to buckle under pressure and quit in protest. Singh was awarded the Padma Shree earlier this year.
While DUTA President Nandita Narayan welcomed the resignation, a section of teachers who supported the FYUP protested against the assault on DU’s “autonomy”. Speaking to Business Standard, academic Aditya Narain Mishra who supports the FYUP and is Executive Council member said that they would not be giving up their fight.
“We are fighting for the autonomy of the university and if things were to be decided at the BJP headquarters, then it would be the end of the University’s autonomy,” said Mishra. He said the “VC quitting in protest has only strengthened our fight.”
Mishra and several of his colleagues had approached the Supreme Court today but were directed to move the appropriate authority the Delhi High Court.
Significantly, the HRD ministry itself had in an affidavit on July 23 last year informed the Delhi High Court, that the ministry was in approval of the new four year programme and clarified that the four years was for those who wanted an Honours degree.
Meanwhile the fate of students continued to remain uncertain with several colleges having already deferred their admission process due to lack of clarity.