The Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC) started three new courses – BA (Honours) [H] Hindi, BSc (H) Computer Science and BSc (H) Mathematics in the current academic session and admitted 75 students.
Of the 75 students, 32 were enrolled in BA (H) Hindi, 23 in BSc (H) Computer Science and the remaining 20 in Mathematics.
DCAC principal Anuradha Gupta, in an email to the UGC on September 7, sought permission to start the three new courses. However, the college went ahead with the admission process even before receiving any reply from the UGC.
In fact, Gupta’s predecessor Rajiv Chopra had also requested the UGC long back on May 24, 2017 to grant funds and sanction posts for the introduction of these three courses in DCAC.
In its reply in August 2018, the UGC had declined to bear the additional costs. It said the college might offer the three new courses approved by University of Delhi within its existing sanctioned strength of both teaching and non-teaching staff.
“The UGC will not bear any additional financial liability for the said courses,” the UGC said in its reply.
The same sequence of events has been repeated this year also. The only difference is that Chopra did not start the three courses in the absence of permission from the UGC, but his successor went ahead with the plan.
Objecting to the whimsical manner in which the admissions took place this year, Srikant Pandey, an associate professor of Political Science in DCAC, filed a complaint with the UGC alleging that the college administration had illegally diverted some posts in order to start the three new courses.
In an email to the UGC chairman on October 9, Pandey, as one of the stakeholders of DCAC, sought to draw the attention of the funding agency towards the alleged irregularities.
He said DCAC had 34 sanctioned posts of assistant professors under the OBC expansion scheme to restore the teacher-taught ratio. The first tranche of funds from the UGC had already been distributed among the existing departments.
“However, the second tranche has been utilised to open new courses which has completely diluted the purpose of restoring the teacher-taught ratio as per the norms stipulated by the (Delhi) University/ UGC,” Pandey said.
He charged that due to the DCAC management’s decision, not only the teacher-taught ratio had become a casualty but also the existing departments had started suffering from shortage of teachers.
“In the light of the above mentioned objective facts, I would request your good office to look into the matter and take necessary action so that the stated policy of affirmative action does not suffer due to irrational and illegal decisions of the persons concerned,” Pandey wrote in his complaint to the UGC.
In reply to the letters, both by the DCAC principal and the associate professor, the UGC expressed its inability to give its nod to the DCAC to start the three new courses.
In a letter dated November 11, UGC’s education officer Shalini said, “I am directed to inform you that the second tranche has been sanctioned to the college to meet out the teaching workload due to increase of students intake for implementation of OBC expansion scheme in the existing courses.
“Therefore, these posts should not be considered for starting new courses. Hence, UGC regrets its inability to approve the proposal of the college for starting of new courses with the posts sanctioned under the second tranche of OBC expansion scheme.”
Despite adverse comments from the UGC, the DCAC principal is defending herself. Talking to the timesofindia.com, Gupta said, “I cannot comment because I have not received the letter as yet.”
Asked what would be her response after this letter reached her, she said, “These courses were approved by DU. An undertaking was given by my predecessor that those courses which have been approved by DU will be started in DCAC.”
Secondly, she said, DCAC would not utilise the UGC fund for running the three new courses.
Defending her decision to launch the courses, Gupta emphatically said, “We started the three courses only after DU approved them. We cannot start a new course without DU’s permission. You can check the DU portal. We followed its guidelines.”
Meanwhile, the controversy seems to have put at grave risk the career of the 75 students of these three courses. They are neither aware that their courses were introduced this year nor about the risk they face. The three students timesofindia.com contacted were aghast with shock and fear of the future.
Ritika Sharma, a first year student of Bsc (H) Computer Science, said she was not aware that the course had been introduced this year itself. “Now, our career is at stake. Our future is also uncertain. What will happen to us if the course is scrapped? I am worried about it,” she said.
Somya, a first year student of Mathematics (H), said, “If the course is scrapped, we will not just lose money but also one precious year. Who will compensate for that?”
First year student of Hindi (H) Soyab Khan appeared to be tense about his future. A resident of Mewat in Haryana, Soyab said if he knew that the course was introduced this year itself he would have either changed the subject or the college.
Worried about his prospects, he asked a volley of questions. “Can I change the subject? Can I take History or Political Science instead? How do I get my course changed? Will I have to visit Delhi and meet the principal to get my course changed? What if the course itself is scrapped?”
Once the other students learn
Tough questions indeed whose answers remain uncertain at the moment.