Delhi University panel proposes to drop course on Ambedkar Philosophy dept opposes

Delhi University Panel Proposes to Drop Course on Ambedkar, Philosophy Dept Opposes

The Standing Committee’s suggestion came as part of the curriculum review being undertaken, based on the National Education Policy 2020.
DELHI UNIVERSITY’S Department of Philosophy has strongly opposed a suggestion from the university’s Standing Committee on Academic Matters to drop an elective course on B R Ambedkar’s philosophy from an undergraduate programme, and has requested Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh to retain the course, The Indian Express has learnt.

According to sources, the suggestion to drop the course from BA Programme (Philosophy) — first made on May 8 — was discussed in the meeting of the department’s postgraduate and undergraduate curriculum committee held on May 12.

The department’s curriculum committee expressed “strong reservation” on the proposal on the ground that “Ambedkar is an indigenous thinker representative of the social aspirations of a majority of people in the country” and that research on Ambedkar is on the rise.
The Standing Committee’s suggestion came as part of the curriculum review being undertaken, based on the National Education Policy 2020.

However, a member of the Standing Committee told The Indian Express that no changes have been made yet, and the final decision rests with the Academic Council, the apex decision-making body on academic matters.

When contacted, Standing Committee Chairperson and Dean of Colleges Balram Pani said, “This (the Ambedkar course) is not being dropped and this suggestion was not given by the committee. The suggestion was that new courses and old courses should be mixed together and it should be designed in such a manner that it should be attractive to the students and it should be designed in a way that it will be adopted in many colleges also… We suggested philosophies of thinkers from all backgrounds should be added.”
However, sources said there, indeed, was a proposal to drop the course.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts Amitava Chakraborty, who was present in the May 8 meeting, told The Indian Express: “There were several suggestions made by the House to the philosophy courses presented before it. One such suggestion was to align the contents of the course ‘Philosophy of B R Ambedkar’… and to offer courses of other philosophical thinkers of India representing different approaches and schools of thought, so that students have options to choose any thinker they wish to study.”

A professor from the Philosophy department, who did not want to be named, said, “The ‘Philosophy of Ambedkar’ is not a compulsory course, it is an elective. Students can choose to pursue it or not to…. It is questionable as to why the addition of papers on other thinkers is being proposed under this new syllabus.”

Shriprakash Singh, Director of South Campus and a member of the Standing Committee, said, “Nothing has been dropped. The next Standing Committee meeting is scheduled on Tuesday and the final decision will be taken by the Academic Council. It is always the collective advice to the department by the committee on certain issues.”
On Monday, in what is being seen as a climbdown following the philosophy department’s opposition, a sub-committee, which was constituted by the Standing Committee to discuss the syllabus revision, suggested that the paper on Ambedkar’s philosophy be retained and a few other electives of other thinkers can be added for the students to choose.

Sources said papers on Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Periyar were a few of the other philosophical thinkers being considered in the new curriculum. These suggestions will be placed in front of the Standing Committee on Tuesday and later before the Academic Council for final approval.
The course on Ambedkar philosophy was introduced in 2015. It includes the life and essential writings of Ambedkar, his concepts and his research methodology.

Courtesy : The Indian Express

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