Teachers, students hit out at V-C’s proposal

DU V-C’s plan to extend teaching hours from 8 to 8 is meeting stiff resistance from teachers and students who consider this proposal insensitive

DU to begin second round of spot admissions on Monday

thousands of seats of the total 70,000 under various undergraduate courses could not be filled. (Representational photo)

Teachers and students have lashed out at the proposal of the vice-chancellor of University of Delhi (DU) which seeks to increase the teaching hours from eight to eight (8 am to 8 pm).

They say that the proposal, if it materialises, will increase the workload of teachers and reduce students’ time for extra-curricular activities.

Archana (name changed), one of the adhoc teachers who was recently laid off by the university, told Patriot that for the vice-chancellor a teacher is not a human being at all.

“We are treated as a commodity, we’ll be used until there exists a need and then discarded as if we were nothing in eyes of the authorities,” lamented Archana.

According to her, the decision to increase the teaching hours would increase the burden on teachers. She added that the university has been insensitive towards its teaching staff and this statement of the vice-chancellor depicts the same insensitivity.

It should be noted that the strength of the teaching staff is below the optimum level with 3,500 teaching positions still vacant.

Students Patriot spoke to said that the university offers seven hours of teaching a day on average.

However, as per the new proposal, the time span of an individual student’s classes will increase as they will be staggered throughout the day. He may be asked to attend classes throughout the 12-hour period.

“A student, in the remaining hours, is usually involved in various co-curricular activities such as drama, debate, dance, sports and many others. The increased teaching hours will simply force a student to remain confined to the syllabus and academics,” said Dipankar Turi, a first-year BA programme student at Hansraj College.

“The simple thought of increasing the teaching hours means a huge deduction in the non-academic development of a student which happens in the college campus but outside a classroom,” he concluded.

Tahreema, another student of the University of Delhi, believes that if there is a discussion on increasing the teaching hours then teachers’ recruitments should be kept in mind as well.

“There are protests and strikes by the DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) every now and then regarding salaries in the university,” she added.

“If the vice-chancellor is planning something for the upcoming session, then it is a must to clear the present issues within the university.”

Yogesh Singh, who is the vice-chancellor, had said in a media event on November 15 that extending teaching hours is one of the ways through which the capacity and student intake at the Delhi University can be increased.

“Good institutions, in my opinion, should operate from eight until eight. We can easily admit one, two or three extra sections of students with that, in my opinion. Currently, our hours of operation are 8 to 5. The working hours can be increased from 8 to 8 with ease. The standard office hours of 9 to 5 or 9 to 6 will remain in effect. However, classes and labs will begin at 8 am and end at 8 pm so that we can add more sections and increase the number of seats,” Singh had said.

 

VOX POP

 

Tahreema, Bachelor’s of Elementary Education, Mata Sundari College, University of Delhi

If we look at it from the perspective of students, a lot of students would be accommodated in various shifts and sections, but then the regulatory bodies must ensure that the teachers are not burdened, as this will take a direct toll on the students, hampering their education. It is also important to increase the recruitment so that employment remains directly proportional to the students’ growth.

 

Sanjana Choudhary, Multimedia and Mass Communication (Hons), Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi

Increasing the already unmanageable timetable would have a huge impact on the students travelling from far-off places in the NCR, reducing their self-study hours. An increase in the teaching hours would mean a direct compromise with the safety of the gender minority students using public transport for their daily commute. These extreme measures would leave little to no room for the students to pursue their interests and internships apart from their academics.

 

Laxman Yadav, Assistant Professor,  Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi

The thought process behind this is a very non-teaching one. It assumes that a professor is not ‘working’ if he is not in the classroom. When, in fact, some of the most important preparation for teaching a class happens outside the class in a professor’s study when the professor reads and builds his own knowledge. In my opinion, this statement by the vice-chancellor is nothing but a promotion of the idea of corporatising education.

 

Jagannath Kumar, Former Guest Faculty, NCWEB, University of Delhi

As someone who has taught in DU, I feel that this increase in teaching hours would lead to a direct increase in the teacher’s workload. Keeping in mind the statements of Professor Yogesh Singh, there’s a need to fill up the vacant positions but that is needed for the present number of students. With increased teaching hours it becomes necessary to appoint and recruit more teachers as per the increased need and to keep the workload as minimum as possible.

 

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Ali Fraz Rezvi covers heritage, history, literature and current social issues for the Patriot.