By Saif Ahmad Khan
Edited by Nandita Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
It has been nearly two months since DU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dinesh Singh scrapped the contentious Four Year Under Graduate Programme (FYUP) on June 27 following a bitter standoff between Delhi University(DU) and the University Grants Commission. The Vice Chancellor’s press statement, which declared the rollback of FYUP, opined that the varsity considered protecting the “interests of the students” to be “of paramount importance.” However, the post-FYUP era has yielded several dilemmas for the students of DU, with the university failing to allay their apprehensions.
Despite the fact that Delhi University set out guidelines for the restructuring of FYUP five days prior to the commencement of the new academic session on July 21, the existing academic situation in DU remains far from satisfactory. Students at universities still remain sceptical of their course curriculum and are raising questions in regard to the arbitrary removal of the programme.
Inter-disciplinary learning and the opportunity to graduate in more than one subject had encouraged Amit Jha to enrol for pursuing his higher education in Hindi at Delhi University. Under the FYUP, he studied subjects like Business, Entrepreneurship & Management and Science & Life as part of Foundation Courses (FCs), which gave him the confidence that he would be able to pursue his post-graduation in Commerce. However, the sudden rollback of FYUP has crushed Amit’s hopes of inter-disciplinary education, which he believed would open up multiple areas of study for him in the future. Amit says, “The rollback of FYUP has substantially diluted career prospects for those students who were heavily dependent on Foundation Courses for their overall development.”
Aditya Nair, a student of B.Com (Hons) at Delhi University, who although satisfied with the shift in focus towards core papers in his course, says, “The students are confused as the books concerning the revised syllabus are not yet available in the market.” He drives home his point by citing the example of books on Corporate Law which do not contain information about Companies Act, 2013. He adds that, “rules and regulations in regards to awarding of marks, credits for attendance and NSS-based activities have not yet been clarified.”
One of the main selling points of the FYUP was that it sought to technologically equip the students to carry out research and other academic activities. Journalism student Parikshit Joshi is one among many who have had to face great difficulty due to colleges asking for the return of laptops, which they had provided to students in the first year. Parikshit also complains about the hasty manner in which the course has been redesigne, saying, “In journalism, advertising has so far constituted an independent paper, but under the new course structure, it is being taught as part of a paper named Integrated Marketing Communications.” He adds that the vastness of the course has even left the teachers bewildered, with them using Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s words, “Kya bholun, kya yaad karun” to describe the scenario.
Ansh Goyal, who played a prominent role in the Save FYUP campaign, is utterly dissatisfied with the prevailing academic environment at DU. While his efforts helped in saving the interests of many, as the university decided to continue BTECH courses for the batch of 2013-17 in which several students like Goyal had taken admission, Goyal himself labels these students as “guinea pigs” who have been “subjected to a crude year long experiment” as DU has now scrapped BTECH courses from the ongoing academic session and has reverted to offering three-year long BSc degrees.
Much like the students of Delhi University, the faculty also seems to be far from satisfied with the newly structured three year under-graduate programme. Sudhir Kumar Rinten, Assistant Professor of Journalism at DU, states that while the cornerstone of FYUP’s syllabus was issue-based learning, the revamped syllabi lacks in practicality and hands on learning, though it provides ample theoretical exposure to the students. With Delhi University having announced the datesheet for the forthcoming semester examinations, the confused students at the nation’s premier varsity are left with no option except for coming to terms with the revamped course structure.