Delhi University Faculty Not Happy With UGC’s Letter On Trips To The North East

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The DU faculty has not taken in jest the recent letter from UGC to the Vice Chancellors of all central universities, encouraging excursions to the northeast states. Many have termed the move as ‘political’.

The Joint Secretary of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Jitendra Tripathi, in the letter, directed the implementation of the ‘action points’ emerged out of a recent meeting for the tourism sector chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. The letter says, “Universities to be encouraged to organise excursions to the North East”. UGC also urged the universities to include tourism as a part of the curriculum to enhance students’ familiarity with the sector.

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However, the university officials said that the government is trying to “propagate its political agenda”, by directing to a particular part of the country, where very conveniently, Assembly elections are scheduled next year. Four of the north-eastern states, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Mizoram, are going to the polls. President of DUTA (Delhi University Teachers Association), Rajib Ray says, “I have been teaching in a central university since the last fifteen years but this is the first time that the government is asking educational institutes to take students on a trip to a prescribed place.”

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Earlier in 2014, under the project Gyanodaya, around 600 DU students were taken on a trip to the north-eastern states. This was an initiative by the then DU Vice-Chancellor, Dinesh Kumar. A member of the university’s highest statutory body, the Executive Council (EC), Rajesh Jha says, “The experience of DU in case of Gyanodaya Express trip to the north-eastern states, when the students were taken to temples and shrines on an educational trip, shows that how the ruling disposition can use such visits to further its political agenda”.

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He added, “This Office Memorandum (OM) does not take this fact into account that the study tours in colleges and universities are decided as per the need of the curriculum and not their interest.” The officials also called this move as another instance of ‘encroachment by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD)’, in the university autonomy.

The JS, Mr. Tripathi could not be reached for comments on the entire situation.

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