Teachers worry as DU mulls semester for arts, commerce

The Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) and the university administration argued over the introduction of semester system in 13 science courses last year. They are now again disturbed over the semester system, as the varsity hopes to introduce it in humanities and commerce courses from the new academic year that begins in July. The teachers had opposed the switch from annual to semester mode citing reasons such as dilution of courses, lack of infrastructure and teachers. But, finally, after a court order in November 2010, the varsity adopted the semester for the science courses. The new vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, who took charge in October, had said that all due process would be followed and teachers would be consulted before the semester system is introduced in humanities and commerce streams. The teachers, however, said they were not consulted while the courses were restructured, despite such assurances. And the department is yet to begin the process of restructuring the English syllabus. The vice-chancellor had called a meeting of all heads of departments to discuss the semester issue. They, in turn, were asked to meet the teacher in-charge in each college. However, in the meeting with their respective heads of departments, the English and the economics teachers in-charge demanded a general body meeting to discuss the new system. The history and philosophy teachers in their meeting rejected the semester system. An economics teacher said that at least substantial time is needed for proper syllabus revision, but on February 9, the V-C sent a letter to departments asking them to prepare an interim syllabus by March 4. The teacher further raised questions that how can something as serious as syllabus change is done in such a hurried manner? Vice-chancellor Singh, however, said no rules were violated. He explained that the university cannot run in dual mode. Hence, along with sciences, the humanities and commerce are also switching to semester this year. He further also said that there were no syllabus changes as of now, unless the department wants it. But, there will just be a simple bifurcation of syllabus at the moment, so that in the coming two-three years, the teachers can revise the courses properly. With the semester system, the workload will increase and hence more permanent positions will be created for teachers, the V-C said.