The collective said that the University and the UGC must be held accountable for being party to the destruction of public universities to make way for privatization.
New Delhi: The student collective that was protesting the sudden change in UGC admission guidelines have organised a joint meeting on August 8, 2018 at Indian Coffee House from 5 pm to discuss the various facets of the ongoing violations and the assault on public universities.
“Delhi University has arbitrarily and post-facto enacted archaic rules which has led to a reduction of students admitted in the Mphil/PhD programmes. In complete violation of due process, admission norms and the Constitution, Delhi University has decided to implement the 2016 UGC Gazette notification for Mphil/PhD interviews,” Sabrang India had reported in July.
According to this notification, a minimum qualification of 50% in the entrance test is mandatory for all students. This notification, however, is not binding and Delhi University as a central university has the right to its own selection process.
The University of Delhi conducted entrance exams for MPhil/PhD courses across various disciplines, and on the basis of the result, several departments released an initial interview list with a graded internal cut-off set at the discretion of the departments as is the norm.
However, an urgent notification dated July 23, 2018, two days prior to the commencement of the interview process, amendments to Article VI stated that the qualifying marks in the entrance examination for all the candidates (reserved and unreserved) was increased to a standard 50% across all categories with no precedent or notice, overnight.
In accordance with this regulation, a revised interview list was released on July 23, 2018, which had minimal students qualifying through the entrance test with the heavy majority qualifying through UGC-NET/JRF. “The arbitrary implementation of the Article VI of the UGC Gazette—May 05, 2016, goes against the clauses mentioned in the Gazette and is an attempt by the university administration to curtail the autonomy of the departments as well as to cripple the University as a whole,” an autonomous student collective from Delhi University stated.
“This notification has affected students from every single Post-Graduate department with thousands losing their seats. The University and the UGC must be held accountable for being party to the destruction of public universities to make way for privatization. This is a continuation of the unabated and relentless attack on public universities to cripple their research output and to make way for privatization. The Gazette is also in clear violation of National/State-level reservation policy, thereby also being a clear attempt to go against the tenets of social justice. This is an attempt to make higher education inaccessible to the majority of the students, access is granted to those who can afford it and to make education into a profit-generating industry,” the collective said.
“We have been struggling against the University administration since 24th July, since then we have submitted numerous petitions to the VC, Dean of Students Welfare, H.O. Ds, have protested outside of the interviews being conducted and most recently have also sat on hunger strike on 1st August. We have also taken legal recourse wherein our next hearing is on the 28th of August. We have managed to build and maintain pressure on the authorities from our activities and have been met with the success of the cancellation of University-wide interviews until further notice,” they said.
“However, since DU isn’t the first nor the only institution that is facing this attack, we appeal to organizations and individuals that they extend their solidarity to us. This is not a fight for one University but rather a collective one. It is in this context that we invite you to join us on August 8th, 2018 at Indian Coffee House from 5 pm onwards to discuss the various facets of the ongoing violations and the assault on public universities, to formulate a collective strategy on how to progress from here; and extend solidarity to the students and faculty struggling to protect these spaces of learning and dissent against the diktats of the UGC and the administration of DU who are in cahoots with each other. Students who have been a part of the struggle so far will be participating in the meeting,” the collective said.
Their facebook page, ‘Protest Unconstitutional Mphil/Phd Interviews In DU’ issued statements against the arbitrary rules and have continued to document their protest through pictures and videos.
Image Courtesy: Name: Forum to Save Higher Education