Delhi University's ambitious document envisaging its plan to "continue to cut" the financial support from the government and develop innovative financial strategies for sustainability in the next 25 years has caused a furore, with a section of teachers terming it a "clear blueprint for privatisation".
The document -- Envisage DU 2047 (25-year strategic plan) -- was presented before the Executive Council (EC) on Friday for approval, but was deferred by Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh after members raised issues over certain portions of it.
However, Singh clarified that there is no plan for privatisation. "I deferred it and asked to make the required amendments," the VC told PTI over the phone.
In a statement, the DU said the strategic document was presented for discussions.
Singh told the meeting that the next 25 years are very important for the country.
"When the country will be celebrating the centenary of its independence, we will be among the developed nations. Therefore, the University of Delhi has also started preparing for its contribution to make India a developed nation in the next 25 years." he was quoted as saying at the meeting.
During the discussion, two EC members -- Seema Das and Rajpal Singh Panwar -- raised a strong opposition. They objected especially to the portion in the document regarding government support.
The document seen by PTI mentioned that it has been prepared to strengthen the DU's position as a leading multidisciplinary research-intensive university delivering economic, social and cultural benefits with excellence, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit at its core.
In the next 25 years, the university will focus on six broad domains -- education and students' experience, research, university community, campuses and local community connect, industry collaborations and global impact, keeping in mind the core parameters of branding, resource generation, philanthropy and globalisation, the document said.
As an educational institution, the DU faces potential decline unless it can revitalise funding in ways that do not rely only on government support, the document mentioned. This portion was highlighted by the EC members.
"Financial support for higher education, healthcare and research has been and will continue to be cut. As an educational institution, the University of Delhi faces potential decline unless it can revitalise funding in ways that do not rely only on government funding," the document read.
"New partnerships with industry are essential to financial stability and the university is well-equipped to maximise opportunities in these areas.... Communicating, relationship-building and fundraising will be important as the university develops innovative financial strategies for sustainability," it read.
Highlighting this section, Das said the strategic plan was deferred as it is a "clear blueprint for privatisation and contractualisation".
"It clearly says that the present government has inflicted fund cuts on education, health and research. The document emphasised on fee hike, fundraising and to change the public-funded character of the university," she said.
Meanwhile, Panwar, who is also a member of the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) teachers' wing, said the document does not mention reservation for the SC, ST, OBC, PwD and EWS categories.
"The vision for the DU colleges is missing. The AADTA will oppose such a document for privatisation and contractualisation as set by the NEP 2020 in the statutory bodies as well as on streets," he added. The university said the VC described the strategic plan as very important.
He said keeping in mind the strategic plan of the Government of India, the DU has also prepared its plan regarding what it needs to do in the next 25 years.
Singh told PTI that the proposal was discussed and it was decided that certain changes will be made.
Asked about the particular section, he said, "We have no such plans. It might be that due to some error, that part was included. The document has been sent back for amendments and will be presented before the next council meeting." The EC meeting also approved the recommendation of the steering committee constituted for conducting programmes under the existing departments of the Faculty of Technology.
The new programmes are B.Tech Computer Science and Engineering of the Department of Computer Engineering, B.Tech Electronics and Communication Engineering of the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering and B.Tech Electrical Engineering of the Department of Electrical Engineering.
"It is worth noting that due to the NSIT and the Delhi College of Engineering becoming separate universities, the DU currently does not have technology programmes," the university said.
Now, the DU has received the Ministry of Education's approval for the creation of 72 teaching and 48 non-teaching posts for its Faculty of Technology, it said.
"However, at present, only 14 teachers will be appointed to these departments. It is to be noted that the Steering Committee had recommended starting three B.Tech programmes from the academic session 2023-24," it added.
A total of 360 students -- 120 for each B.Tech programme -- will be admitted. Admission to these programmes will be done on the basis of the JEE Mains score. The course structure, credit distribution and syllabi for the first two semesters of the programmes have been finalised, the university said.
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