St Stephen's teachers urges Javadekar for stakeholders meeting on autonomy issue


In the backdrop of the row over a grant of autonomous status to St Stephen College, its staff association today wrote to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar requesting him to convene a stakeholder's meeting and give a hearing to their concerns.

In the letter, St Stephen's College Staff Association President Nandita Narain said, "We understand from teacher representatives of Hindu College that you have given a commitment that you will not take the matter, on autonomous status to the college, forward without taking on board all stakeholders and addressing all their concerns. We are confident that you will honour this commitment with regard to our college as well."

"We, therefore, request you to convene a meeting at which the teachers, students and non-teaching staff of the college can express their concerns regarding autonomy and kindly put the matter on hold till then," she said.

Narain also mentioned that the association was not aware of a meeting that the Ministry of HRD convened on May 22 to discuss autonomy with representatives of the various stakeholders of the St. Stephen's College and Hindu College.

"Teachers, students and non-teaching staff had absolutely no knowledge of this meeting, and therefore could not participate in it. It is indeed extremely regrettable and shocking that the Principal of St Stephen's College chose to be secretive about it," she said.

The teacher's body along with the Delhi University Teachers Association had held protests in front of the college against reports of UGC granting autonomous status to the college.

DUTA president Rajib Ray had said, "The Scheme of Autonomous Colleges and Graded Autonomy, which is a push towards self-financing schemes and online courses, will have far-reaching consequences. The privatisation of publicly funded institutions will hit badly the educational prospects of students coming from marginalised sections, women students and the middle class."

Both the teacher's bodies also held protests when a UGC team visited the college on May 10. "The teachers were not consulted either before or after the GB (governing body) decision to move for autonomy. Again, when the UGC Committee came to visit the College, an attempt was made by the administration to keep the main body of teachers away from the interaction. There are several serious concerns to raise, regarding the issue of autonomy," she said in the letter.

The decision to write to the minister was taken in an emergency meeting of the Staff Association of St Stephen's College held today, she added.

Meanwhile, the DUTA announced that it would continue to boycott evaluation and ready to give stiff opposition to any move to grant autonomy to St Stephen's College and Hindu College. The DUTA has been boycotting evaluation many days now.

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