At the premises of an old building that is home to some of the oldest departments of a multicultural and diverse university, Jamia Millia Islamia, over two dozen students raised slogans against the authorities demanding competent faculty members for all the different courses at the Turkish Language and Literature Programme. The programme that runs under the Faculty of Humanities and Languages initially began with certificate and diploma courses in 2006, and, now has an advanced diploma and a full-time undergraduate degree course in its offering.
The students at the Turkish Department began their protest on October 3 and kept at it for the next six days. The unavailability of any teaching staff from the Turkish department to teach students the language was what triggered the protests. As many as 170 students were protesting against the long-drawn unavailability of the teachers and a significant batch of students even slept outside the department premises during the protest.
According to the students who were protesting, the department did not have any teacher from July 16 this year, that is, since the new academic session began. The norm is that teachers are recruited and brought in from Turkey, but, this time no such effort was made.
One of the protesters, on request of anonymity, told Youth Ki Awaaz, “They’ve hired a teacher, but he has taken only a few classes.” The irregularity of the current teaching staff has affected students greatly and hampered their academic growth.
While there were certain promises being made, the students had been demanding a documented promise which could be used later, if the administration failed to deliver on their promises. “Whatever the administration is promising us is verbal. We don’t trust their promises as we learnt a lesson in our past interactions with the administration”, another protesting student told Youth Ki Awaaz. The students were not convinced by the steps taken by the university to pacify the students. They wanted to be given concrete promises, and not mere assurances that their problem will be addressed.
But, they have finally been giving a written document which says that the department will now function under the MMJA Academy of International Studies. The administration has appointed a teacher and classes have resumed.
Ashar Fazli, a student of the first year from Turkish department who sat on a hunger strike with his seniors told YKA that the notice was given in written on October 8, 2018, around 5 – 6 pm. Students resumed classes on October 9, 2018. “The students were fed up of the Language and Literature department and finally they got free from it as it’ll now be under MMAJ Academy of IS.”
The administration has transferred responsibility of the department to another center for effective management but hasn’t announced a timeline by when they would deliver on the promises made to the students.