The Delhi University Academic Council on Tuesday dropped a celebrated short story by the renowned Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi from the BA (Hons) English course while approving changes in its syllabus.
The council also approved the implementation of National Education Policy from 2022-2023 and four-year undergraduate programmes, over-riding a strong dissent from its members, in its 12-hour long meeting on Tuesday.
Some members said despite opposition from a section of the council, the syllabus of the fifth semester of BA (Hons) English and the NEP was approved.
The matter will now be discussed by the varsity Executive Council.
DU sources said at least 14 members of the Academic Council gave a dissent note on the changes in the syllabus of BA (Hons) English that dropped Mahasweta Devi’s short story.
The Oversight Committee on courses had suggested some changes in the syllabus earlier which were opposed in the meeting
Mithuraaj Dhusiya, an Academic Council member, said, “We strongly protest against the over-reach of the Oversight Committee which arbitrarily changed texts in the new undergraduate Learning Outcomes based Curriculum Framework syllabi of the fifth semester, bypassing the statutory bodies like Faculties, Committee of Courses and Standing Committee.”
Dalit authors Bama and Sukirtharini were arbitrarily removed, Dhusiya stated.
“Then, Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi — a story about a tribal woman — was also removed. It is shocking to note that this Oversight Committee did not have any experts from the concerned departments whose syllabus was changed. There is no logic behind such removals,” he said.
“No voting was allowed and the elected members were asked to deposit dissent notes. This is subversion of statutory processes. Discussion in the Standing Committee, with 27 members, is not the same as discussion in the Academic Council with over 100 members,” Dhusiya said.
Out of 26 elected members, 16 dissented .
In a dissent note on the National Education Policy, the members said the university has not asked for detailed feedback of the report of the NEP implementation from all stakeholders including members of all relevant statutory bodies.
‘Even though, DU uploaded the report on the DU Web site on February 20, 2021, it did not specifically ask for submission of feedback on this report,’ the note read.
‘Standing Committee, and thereafter the Academic Council, must deliberate upon the recommendations of the NEP Implementation Committee only and along with feedback from stakeholders,’ it added.
‘The report must be sent for discussion to all statutory bodies, like the Committees of Courses, Staff Councils, Faculties, etc. before taking it to the Academic Council,’ the note further added.
It also stated that the fixing of the academic year 2022-2023 as the year of implementation of NEP 2020 is ‘baseless’ as there needs to be a detailed discussion and wider consultation first on NEP 2020 among all stakeholders.