DCAC started three new courses – BA (Honours) [H] Hindi, BSc (H) Computer Science and BSc (H) Mathematics in the 2020 academic session and enrolled 75 students in these courses without getting prior approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The UGC has twice rejected DCAC principal Anuradha Gupta’s application for funding of the three courses in about two months. While the students face an uncertain future, the college is heading towards a serious financial crisis.
In an email to the UGC on September 7, Anuradha Gupta sought permission to launch the three new courses. The college admitted 75 students – 32 in BA (H) Hindi, 23 in BSc (H) Computer Science and the remaining 20 in Mathematics – without even getting a reply from the UGC.
In its reply on November 11, the UGC denied permission to DCAC for the three new courses.
In fact, Gupta’s predecessor Rajiv Chopra had also requested the UGC on May 24, 2017 to grant funds and sanction posts for the introduction of the same three courses.
However, the UGC had declined to bear the additional costs in August 2018. It said the college might offer the three new courses approved by University of Delhi within its existing sanctioned strength of both teaching and non-teaching staff. It expressed its inability to bear any additional financial liability for the three courses.
Following UGC’s reply, Chopra had shelved the plan to start the new courses. But his successor, on the contrary, went ahead with starting the new courses despite rejection by the UGC.
Timesofindia.com published a report in this regard on November 21 wherein Gupta had said that the three courses were approved by DU and an undertaking was given by her predecessor that the courses which had been approved by DU would be started in DCAC. Secondly, she said, DCAC would not utilise the UGC fund for running the three new courses.
Gupta sent another letter to the UGC on November 23 last year again seeking approval for the courses. The UGC once again permission for the courses.
In its reply to Gupta on December 15, UGC education officer Shalini wrote: “With reference to your letter dated November 23, 2020 on the subject above (Introduction of new courses at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, University of Delhi from academic session 2020-21), I am directed to inform you that the UGC had considered the request of the college for starting of new courses approved by University of Delhi and conveyed its decision vide letter dated September 5, 2018. Further in response to DCAC email dated September 7, 2020, UGC through its letter dated November 11, 2020 informed that the posts sanctioned under OBC expansion scheme cannot be utilised for starting of new courses.
“Now DCAC again through its letter November 23, 2020 requested to convey approval for new courses. In this regard, it is once again reiterated that the college may start the new courses, however, UGC shall not bear any additional financial liability. Further, the college shall not utilise the posts sanctioned by UGC for ongoing courses as well as under OBC expansion scheme during first and second tranche for the said courses.”
In the meantime, DCAC faculty Amrit Kaur Basra was appointed the ad hoc principal of the college. But Gupta moved the Delhi high court against the appointment. In her plea too, she has mentioned that the college had got the “approval of the UGC”.
Her petition said, “The petitioner took various initiatives to improve the standard of teaching in the college and also introduced various courses which had the approval of the UGC.”
DU registrar Vikash Gupta told timesofindia.com that he had referred the matter to the university’s dean, students’ welfare, “so that the students are not put to any disadvantageous position”.
While all efforts to contact Anuradha Gupta were in vain, Srikant Pandey, an associate professor of Political Science in DCAC, alleged that the principal has not annexed the UGC’s letter which, she claims, gave her the approval to start the three new courses.
Pandey had filed a complaint with the UGC alleging that the college administration had illegally diverted some posts in order to start the three new courses. In an email to the UGC chairman on October 9, 2020, Pandey, as one of the stakeholders of DCAC, sought to draw the attention of the funding agency towards the alleged irregularities.
Talking to timesofindia.com, he said, “Anticipating uncertainty of the prospects of the courses and its impact on financial health of the college, the teachers’ association of the college convened an emergency meeting on December 31. Dr Gupta, despite being a member, did not attend the meeting. Having left with no other alternative, the association has requisitioned the emergent meeting of the statutory body (staff council) to take remedial measures. The notice for the same has been sent to the principal who is the chairperson of the staff council. The meeting has not been notified till date.”
With the fresh denial by the UGC, DCAC is heading towards a financial debt trap on the one hand and bleak academic career of 75 students on the other.