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UGC blow to DU schedule

New Delhi, June 13: The University Grants Commission (UGC) decided at a meeting today that the four-year undergraduate programme introduced by Delhi University last year is illegal and should be reviewed immediately.

The commission held that the four-year programme violates the national education policy that provides for the 10+2+3 system. The new four-year system has nationwide implications and was introduced without amending the Delhi University Act, UGC sources quoted members as saying at the meeting.

The UGC will write to the university authorities to review the programme.

While the UGC is an advisory body, DU may not be able to override its directive as the HRD ministry seems to be favouring a reconsideration of the four-year decision.

How the review will be done is unclear. A committee may be set up by the university to examine it, sources said.

The programme has become controversial after several teachers’ and students’ associations demanded its rollback. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) had recently met human resource development minister Smriti Irani seeking her intervention.

The DUTA is of the view that the four-year programme, which requires students to spend one more year to earn an honours degree, goes against poor students.

Students’ bodies like the ABVP and the NSUI have also protested against the programme. The BJP in its election manifesto for Delhi had promised to work towards rolling it back.

A UGC official said a committee of the higher education regulator recently reviewed the programme and advised more debate. It also asked the UGC to bring out a white paper after thorough examination.

The UGC disapproval has put a question mark on the future of 54,000 students enrolled in the four-year programme last year, who have completed a year studying the foundation courses without going to their core subjects.

Under the programme, there are 11 foundation courses apart from the core discipline subjects. The first two years focus on the foundation courses, while discipline one and discipline two have been prescribed in the third and fourth year.

The foundation courses are centred around economic development, water, energy, urbanisation, infrastructure, transport, sanitation, environment, public health, food security, agriculture, education, literacy, ethics, society, justice, rural, urban and linkages.

The DUTA has prepared an alternative model for the affected students. Professor Abha Dev Habib, a DUTA member, said students who had completed one year should now study their core subjects while the remaining foundation courses should be pushed to the fourth year and made optional. The ongoing admissions should be held for the old three-year system, she said.

“If UGC is saying illegality has been committed, then it cannot be propagated further. So it should be rolled back before the admission starts,” Habib said.

The DU authorities were not available for comment.


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