Sunday, January 20, 2013

Correspondence Students’ Rights’ Campaign MEMORANDUM

Correspondence Students’ Rights’ Campaign
             Conveners: Prithvi-7838949583, Shahnawaz-9015450101
                                                                                                                                                                                                Date: 21.01.2013
The Vice-Chancellor,
University of Delhi,



Appeal for the redressal of S.O.L. students’ grievances

Respected Sir,
We, the students of the School of Open Learning (SOL), took out a protest rally today so as to spread awareness, and to register our protest against gross discrimination as well as the grave difficulties we face as students of Delhi University.  We urge upon your office to take cognizance of our grievances and take steps to address them in the earnest.
Contrary to popular conception, the distance learning mode (SOL) student community does not consist primarily of those who wish to pursue studies part-time. In fact a majority of students studying through the distance learning mode consists of those who wish to study in regular colleges but are forced to enroll in the correspondence mode because we do not get admission in such colleges. Most of us end up enrolling in SOL because we cannot get past the outrageously high cut-offs of the regular colleges. In such a situation, it is the duty of the University to gradually try and ensure that an increasing number such students are properly incorporated in regular courses, but unfortunately, the policies of the University have not been moving in this direction at all. As a result, there is a tendency towards informalization of education for an increasing number of students. The recent structural reforms by the University administration have further accentuated this trend.
School of Open Learning is running in an extremely informal and ad-hoc manner. Its sorry state of affairs is apparent from the statement given to Hindustan Times on January 19, 2013 by your own office, pointing to the numerous irregularities afflicting the School. The personal contact program has been almost ineffective because the classes are few and irregular. The quality of teaching is utterly wanting. Moreover, despite the fact that the number of students in the School is much larger than regular colleges, the number of courses offered to us is too few. For example even such common courses like B.A. Honors in History, Sociology etc. are not made available to us. The study material is outdated and is highly rote-oriented. The Library facility too is utterly inadequate.
Furthermore, the office staff is careless with work as a result of which mistakes are often made in data entry—practice which leads to a great deal of discomfiture for us. For instance, last year due to data entry mistakes the incumbent batch had to undergo a number of hardships as a very large of students were given wrong subject option by the staff. Shockingly, instead of making corrections, the staff advised these students to drop a year! The results too are often published late, causing many students to miss out the dead line for admissions to higher courses. Moreover, there is no provision for extra-curricular activities like sports, theatre etc. for SOL students. For students desirous of pursuing post graduation courses through SOL too few seats are available. We are absolutely clueless as to why there should be a cut-off/elimination process in the distance learning mode which was introduced to make quality education available to the broadest possible masses. Unfortunately, the cut-off system and competitive exams are on for all MA courses now.
We are also vexed by the humiliating treatment meted to us by the University administration. The general behavior of the University staff towards us is extremely insulting. Moreover, at a time when there is so much talk about abolishing discriminatory treatment toward women it is incomprehensible as to why there are separate centers for boys and girls. We protest against the retrograde and misogynist presumption that boys and girls must study separately.
We are much alarmed by the recent reform measures announced by the University as they threaten to further aggravate the already existing gulf between the regular and distance learning students. We suspect that the semester system, four year bachelor course etc., which are being feted as measures that would increase the worth of the regular courses, would further decrease the value of distance learning courses that are already considered redundant and of lower quality. It is clear that the interests of SOL students, who far outnumber the regular students of the University, appear very low in the list of priorities set by the university. We protest against this elitist bias on part of the University administration which plans all its reforms from the point of view of the regular students only.
We believe that it is unjust on part of the University to condemn the majority of its students to informal education (Distance learning mode). The attitude of the University administration is clearly borne out by the statement given by the VC’s office to Hindustan Times on 19 January 2013, stating that the ‘future of education lines in correspondence studies.’ This is particularly disturbing because the majority of the students who are forced to pursue studies through the distance learning mode belong to the poorer sections of the society. We condemn this elitist bias of the University and demand the University to reformulate its policies and enshrine the principle of bringing an ever increasing number of students within the net of regular courses as its guiding principle. We request you to take apt measures as soon as possible, failing which we would be forced to take recourse to other means of protest available to us.
Our demands:
1. Build 80 new colleges to accommodate all distance learning students in regular courses.
2. Accommodate all SOL students desirous of pursuing education through regular courses in regular colleges through the “sitting” system, till the time new colleges are built.
3. Give library facilities, access to ECA, sports etc, at par with the regular students, to all SOL students accommodated in the regular colleges.
4. Ensure bus pass facility to all SOL students for all routes. University authority must write to DTC to   ensure the same.
5. Till the time SOL students are given admissions in regular colleges, improve the quality and frequency of Personal Contact Program and ensure that all students are given high quality study material.
6. Admission process of no post-graduation course should be completed before the publishing of SOL results.
7. The university administration must address the problems of all SOL students of the incumbent batch who stand to lose a year due to the course data entry mistakes of the university staff. The staff responsible for these mistakes must be reprimanded.



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