Various teachers’ groups of Delhi University (DU), cutting across party lines, have slammed the Delhi government’s resolution to reserve 85% seats for children of Delhi residents in the 28 DU colleges funded by the Delhi government, terming it to be a “political gimmick”.
Last week, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Delhi government had called a special session of the Delhi Assembly where such a resolution was passed. “The Delhi Assembly resolution is nothing but an attempt to hide the Delhi government’s failures,” A.K. Bhagi, Executive Council (EC) member of DU and head of the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), said. NDTF is the teachers’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in DU. “The AAP has been in power for the last three years and it had promised to open 20 new colleges in Delhi in its manifesto, but not even a single new college has been opened till date. Also, the Delhi government has no power to alter any working situation in DU colleges. The DU was established under an Act of Parliament and the Act can only be amended by Parliament,” Bhagi said.
Another teachers’ group, the Academics for Action and Development (AAD), called the resolution of the Delhi government a “political drama”. “We condemn the resolution. AAP is lying that the Delhi government funds 28 colleges; in reality, there are just 13 colleges which are fully funded by the Delhi government, in the remaining 15, 95% of the funds come from the University Grants Commission,” Rajesh Jha, AAD leader and DU Executive Council member, said.
“Treating Delhi government colleges differently will have adverse implications for service conditions of teachers, and any amendment to the DU Act will dilute the Central university character,” Abha Dev Habib, former DU-EC member and representative of the left wing teachers’ group in DU, said. “Providing higher education to all is only possible by opening more colleges instead of undermining existing educational institutions. The problem has to be addressed by creating new infrastructure as was done in 1998 by the BJP government, which set up the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. This University reserves 85% seats for Delhi students, but colleges under the university offer only professional courses. Also the Congress government led by Sheila Dikshit had opened the Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) to accommodate more city students,” Jayant Kumar, teacher of political science at AUD, said.