New Delhi: Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh resigned on Tuesday, days after the University Grants Commission (UGC) told him to scrap the controversial four-year under-graduate course (FYUP). Three top university officials, including the pro vice chancellor, also quit following his resignation.
However, it was not clear immediately whether the controversial FYUP has been scrapped.
Joint Dean Students' Welfare and media coordinator Malay Neerav announced: "Dinesh Singh has sent his resignation to the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry."
Singh's resignation came amid a continuing row between the UGC and the university.
The news of Singh's resignation led to immediate celebrations among the students unions and teachers' associations, who had opposed the course ever since it was introduced last year. Many distributed sweets, danced, waved flags and hugged each other in jubilation.
But a section of teachers slammed the UGC's "diktat" to scrap the course.
Moments after the vice chancellor's resignation, pro vice chancellor Sudhish Pachauri, South Campus director Umesh Rai and Dean of Colleges Malashri Lal also put in their papers. "They have submitted their resignations to the vice chancellor," an official told IANS.
Meanwhile, some DU officials reached Singh's residence to persuade him to reconsider his decisions.
With the row continuing between DU and the UGC over scrapping the four-year programme, the future of 2.7 lakh applicants who have sought admissions to DU and its affiliated colleges for this year hangs in balance.
DU, considered one of the top universities in the country, has 78 affiliated colleges, of which 63 colleges are conducting admissions. The process was to begin on Tuesday.
Amid the ongoing tussle, the principals' association on Monday put on hold the admission process, citing "lack of clarity". Colleges were supposed to release cut-off lists Monday night.
The tussle began on June 20 when the UGC directed DU to scrap the course and replace it with the original three-year programme. Despite the UGC's repeated reminders, the varsity remained non-committal.
The commission had also directed DU to enroll new applicants under the previous three-year under-graduate course, warning of freezing the funds to DU if it failed to comply.
Attacking Singh and the previous UPA government, the Delhi University Teacher's Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain said the association considers the four-year programme as an "irresponsible succumbing of the statutory bodies to the whims of the vice-chancellor".
"In fact, the FYUP was announced to the media even before the university community had an opportunity to discuss it. The academic council accepted the recommendations by a Task Force constituted by the VC in unimaginable haste," the association said in a statement.
The university did not scrutinise the structure of the FYUP or the content of the courses, it said.
It also said that before implementing the course, the university did not examine the infrastructure, teachers and other necessities to accommodate 33 percent more students in each college.
But DU's Executive Council member Aditya Narayan Mishra described the FYUP as "good."
"The FYUP is much cheaper than the under-graduate courses in private university," Mishra told reporters.
"UGC's latest diktat to DU to admit students in three-year course and not in FYUP is a violation of the long standing autonomy of the DU. FYUP is not in contravention of the Delhi University Act 1922," added Mishra, who had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the matter.
The Supreme Court refused to entertain the public interest litigation seeking quashing of the FYUP, and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court.
The Congress, meanwhile, accused the Narendra Modi government of creating a "mess which was never seen in Indian education system".
"It is very unfortunate as the future of lakhs of students is in the dark. This is not about duration of a course but the government's policy. The NSUI has been demanding a three-year course for a long time, and, therefore, the day the government took oath, they should have made it into a three-year course," said former union minister Manish Tewari.