Published: 17th May 2022
Hansraj College's IAS coaching row: AISA protests, DTF asks for DU VC's immediate intervention
Hansraj College has been offering IAS coaching for a year now, raising serious concerns among sections of students and teachers
By offering IAS coaching, that too in association with a private institute, Delhi University’s Hansraj College has drawn the ire of many, including its own students and DU teachers.
All India Students Association (AISA) members were seen protesting outside the college against the same with placards like, 'Stop turning campus into coaching centre', 'Shame on Hansraj Principal! Stop profiteering from coaching mafia' and 'No private coaching in DU'.
The contention is, as succinctly summed up by Dean of Colleges, Balaram Pani earlier in the day, "Colleges are not allowed to do so. They are an educational institution. They cannot start giving coaching to students. I will call an inquiry into it. They are purely academic institutes for academic purposes. They cannot only give coaching to those who pay and leave other students behind."
Getting to the bottom of it
Hansraj College has been offering this coaching, in association with Beacon Institute, for about a year now. Rs 75,000 is the minimum fee for a three-year coaching programme while the maximum is Rs 1,50,000.
How did the college manage to conduct IAS coaching without the knowledge of Delhi University or students? When we questioned President of DU's AISA, Abhigyan, he said that the students were aware but couldn't reach out to any higher authorities due to lockdown and online classes.
AISA even met the Vice-Principal to put forth their concerns but to no avail.
Sharing his view on the DU's decision to conduct an inquiry, Abhigyan said he welcomes the decision but it all depends on the results of the inquiry.
Briefing about their demands, the President mentioned two of them. "Firstly, the colleges willing to coach should offer the opportunity to all students. Secondly, the association with private institutes has to be scrapped."
The notification on the website of Hansraj College stated that the fee amount will vary depending on the percentage of Class XII. It also read, "The course fees payment mode is Demand Draft/NEFT/Cheque. These instruments should be drawn in favour of 'Principal, Hansraj College."
It also stated that admission to these IAS classes conducted at Hansraj College are open to all students of DU.
Teachers raise concerns
The Democratic Teachers' Front (DTF) has written a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University, Yogesh Singh, asking for his immediate intervention into the matter and issue a direction to the colleges to withdraw "these profit making private coaching schemes and preserve the egalitarian spirit of our university." This was done today, May 17.
When asked why wasn't the situation not known till now, Miranda House's Assitant Profesor Abha Dev Habib, who is also the Secretary of the DTF, opines that it is the fear of harassment coupled with the fact that the colleges' internal "unit" doesn't possess the freedom to voice their opinion, has led to this being under wraps till date.
Additionally, the professor said that until Swami Shraddhanand's notification caught everyones' eye, no one knew about Hansraj College's coaching. Hence, she advocated for an inquiry into the matter, to specifically get answers to questions like who initiated these courses and who is profiteering from them.
Sharing her view on what could be done to keep a check on these practices, the professor states, "The Academic Council should send notices directing colleges to stop offering private coaching." The colleges can start counselling classes on their own for all students if they are willing to offer courses, she adds.
"Public aided institutions are not allowed to offer private coaching. Hence, they should stop it immediately," she concluded.