Protest grows against Delhi University’s likely closure of BElEd programme

2 mins readComment
Manager Editorial
New Delhi, Updated on May 26, 2023 08:51 IST

DU Academic Council agenda mentions that ITEP will be implemented in all eight colleges that offer the BElEd programme.

The Academic Council meeting of the University of Delhi scheduled for today, May 26, 2023, includes in its agenda the introduction, in ‘pilot mode’ of an Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP) - a ‘dual-degree major holistic Bachelor’ degree’, by replacing BElEd programme.

Teachers are protesting against the plan to scrap the course. The DU AC agenda mentions that ITEP will be implemented in all eight colleges that offer the BElEd programme. The agenda does not indicate that the decision to implement ITEP in 3 colleges from the academic year 2023-24 and in all eight colleges from the academic year 2024-25 has the approval of the concerned college governing bodies, the Committee of Courses (professional) and Faculty of Education as per the University’s statutory procedure.

The teachers are questioning if ITEP is to be commenced in pilot mode, it can be offered in any college of the University of Delhi. Why is it being imposed in colleges that are conducting the BElEd?

“The real reason for coercing BElEd colleges to start the ITEP is the UGC and DU’s unwillingness to appoint new faculty required to teach ITEP,” says a statement from one of the teachers' associations.

The BElEd is the first and only four-year professional degree programme that prepares teachers for elementary classes. With its interdisciplinary and integrated approach, the BElEd has successfully trained close to 10,000 teachers, in consonance with the Constitutionally mandated RTE Act. As per teachers, the ITEP program provides only one-year professional training following three years of general education (BA/BSc/BCom) which is inadequate to equip teachers with the necessary knowledge and capacities for teaching diverse levels and classrooms.

BElEd, recognized internationally, produces graduates who excel in teaching positions across prestigious private and government schools, including Kendriya Vidyalayas. Additionally, their eligibility for Trained Graduate and Post Graduate Teacher positions has been confirmed by High Courts.

The current qualification for faculty teaching the BElEd and BEd stipulate two post-graduate degrees: one in education and the other in a parent discipline related to the Foundation discipline and/or a school subject.

The essential qualification for the bulk of the ITEP faculty on the other hand, as stated in the NCTE norms includes a post-graduate degree in liberal disciplines along with an undergraduate degree in education (BEd) to teach liberal disciplinary courses; or a post-graduate degree in education (MEd) to teach Foundations of Education that include sociology, psychology and philosophy of education without PG in the concerned discipline.

This dilution of faculty qualification and a standardised homogenised curriculum indicates a deep dilution of the standards required to prepare school teachers. A common curriculum to educate teachers across diverse cultures, communities and languages of India will not prepare them to teach in diverse classrooms and hence will make them ineffective.

There are close to 50 vacancies in the education faculty teaching the B.El.Ed. After a very long time, DU has advertised these vacancies. The imposition of ITEP will seriously impact ad-hoc and temporary faculty teaching in substantive posts for several years.

Democratic Teachers Federation says: “Closing down a well-reputed programme such as the BElEd is not only illegal, it is also, academically and professionally irrational. The University should come clear on why it is coercing colleges to replace the BElEd with ITEP?”

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About the Author
Manager Editorial

Abhay an alumnus of IIMC and Delhi University, has over a decade long experience of reporting on various beats of journalism. During his free time he prefers listening to music or play indoor and outdoor games.


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