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'Arbitrary Modification': 130 Teachers Write to DU Dept Head on Syllabus Changes

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On Monday, 13 September, at least 130 English teachers from prominent Delhi University colleges including Miranda House, Lady Shri Ram, and Ramjas wrote to their Department Head, Raj Kumar and urged him to conduct a emergency General Body Meeting (GBM) to discuss the “arbitrary modification” of English syllabus, The Indian Express reported.

The Oversight Committee (OC) of Delhi University (DU) had come under severe criticism after it removed two women Dalit authors, Bama and Sukhirtharani, besides author Mahasweta Devi’s seminal short story 'Draupadi', from the fifth semester English syllabus. Authorities of DU meanwhile had stood with OC's decision.

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'GBM Essential to Safegaurd Academic Rigour, Intellectual Honesty' ""We, the undersigned teachers of English Literature in the University of Delhi, request you to call an emergency General Body Meeting of English teachers (in the department and the constituent colleges of DU) on the following issues: arbitrary modification of English department’s 5th semester syllabi by the Oversight Committee without any recommendation from the English Department GBM, the duly constituted GBM-approved syllabus subcommittees, or the duly consulted subject expert/s."" - The teachers wrote in a letter to HoD Raj Kumar as quoted by Indian Express

They also wanted a GBM to be held over the “inordinate and academically unacceptable delay by the University of Delhi in approving the 6th semester syllabi of English Department”.

As the issues have garnered huge attention in the media and among the public, the teachers said that they will have a "serious impact on pedagogical aspects in the classroom." They stated that it will also affect thousands of teachers and students involved in the teaching-learning process of English literature.

Hence, they stressed it was essential to discuss the issues at a General Body Meeting "to safeguard academic rigour, intellectual honesty and commitment to our students. We, therefore, request you to have an emergency GBM within the minimum time required to call a GBM on these issues," their letter added.

Meanwhile, the HoD Raj Kumar told The Indian Express that he would definitely call for the GBM after consulting with his department colleagues. However, he said it was not possible to ascertain when it would be held.

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(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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