Published: 27th February 2021
Why does the Andhra govt want Delhi's Sri Venkateswara College to be part of Andhra University?
The college is managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), with the temple's management body contributing to the development and progress of the college
The Sri Venkateswara College in Delhi is currently in an existential crisis. While the college is affiliated with the University of Delhi, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy wants it to be a part of the Andhra University to cater to the Telegu speaking students of the national capital. The teachers and students have obviously been protesting this proposal.
Why SVC?The college is managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), with the temple's management body contributing to the development and progress of the college. "The government of AP intends to amend the AP Universities Act 1991 to expand the power of affiliation of AU to affiliate Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi so as to facilitate greater access to higher education in Delhi for students of AP origin," wrote Reddy to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
But this would mean a shift from a central university to a state university. "We would have to change the entire set up and curriculum. Delhi University has honours AU does not. They do not teach a lot of areas like liberal arts there. Moreover, it is not feasible to run a college from thousands of kilometres away. SVC is a reputed college of the Delhi University and a move like this will hamper its excellence," said Nirmal Kumar, who teaches History at the college.
Not just academic issues, the teachers will be facing financial issues as well as DU is on the Seventh Pay Commission and the AU is still on the Sixth Pay Commission. "The same university cannot have two sets of teachers in different pay scales. That would mean we would have to take a pay cut," added Kumar. "DU has the system of ad-hoc teachers and we have 125 of them. Not only will they lose their jobs, but the 90 permanent faculty members will not be able to finish the syllabus even if they deliver lectures from 7 am to 11 pm," he added.
Teachers from across the university have supported the SVC teachers and students. "The move appears to be driven by the Andhra Government on the plea that the State has lost many premier institutions due to bifurcation. It wants to affiliate SVC to Andhra University in order to provide educational opportunity to Telugu speaking students in Delhi. The Andhra government has made a plea to the Centre to amend the 2009 UGC order disallowing the jurisdiction of a university beyond the state by which it is established. The move is driven by the host of steps taken recently as part of the government policy toolkit to acquire brand value through the ranking framework to be competitive in the market. This would be determining for successful business in the education," said Dr Nandita Narain, President of the Democratic Teachers' Front.
"Delhi University planning offshore campuses is driven by the same objective of reshaping itself as a business enterprise and has nothing to do with revamping education. The IoE scheme, which granted this freedom, for select universities had too narrow a base. The freedom to do business, therefore has been extended to the management of every university and college under NEP 2020," said Dr Abha Dev Habib, Secretary of DTF. "The protection we enjoy today from the UGC Act and DU Act from such takeovers as NEP gets rolled out will become a thing of the past," she added.