The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 11 , 2014
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Forget us not: 1-year veterans of 4-year course

New Delhi, June 10: Most students who enrolled in Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programme last year want it to continue even as confusion persists among this year’s applicants because of indications that the Centre may review the course.

Many from the 2013 batch seem to believe in the varsity’s contention that the new system — which was introduced last year and requires them to study an extra year to get an honours degree — adopts a more practical approach to higher education and will make them more “employable”.

“Students who in the earlier three-year undergraduate programme would have pursued a BA Pass degree are now studying a proper subject. Now even if they want to leave after three years, they will have a bachelor’s degree, which is far more credible than a plain BA Pass. We only look at honours students but a mere 20 per cent of the DU students go for such courses. The rest opt for pass courses,” said Miranda House’s Nikhat Parveen, who enrolled last year.

The four-year programme (FYUP) includes 11 foundation courses apart from two core discipline subjects.

Students of all streams have to study the foundation courses in the first and second years, when they have fewer papers on the subjects of their choice. The core subjects are studied from the second year.

Those who quit after three years get a “general degree”, while those who leave after two years secure an “associate degree”, a system in line with the pattern in the US and several other countries.

Shubham Bhartia of Hindu College agreed the course had merits. “The programme has promoted practical education, which a lot of students have liked. Those protesting should understand that blackboard teaching needs to stop so that students gather skills along with knowledge. I believe that rather than thinking of scrapping the programme, the Centre should urge more and more universities in the country to follow the pattern.”

DU officials have said the FYUP is designed keeping in mind contemporary challenges. The foundation courses are centred on topics like economic development, energy, urbanisation, infrastructure, sanitation, environment, public health and food security.

Since the programme is only a year old, most students are waiting to see how the core discipline courses pan out. “So far, the programme is doing well. Though some don’t like the foundation courses, the majority is fine with them. Everyone is eagerly waiting for the discipline courses. However, I think the new FYUP batch will be more organised,” said a student in a prominent college on the DU’s South Campus.

The message to retain the programme comes amid indications that the Centre might ask higher education regulator UGC to examine the course and come up with suggestions after some DU teachers met Union HRD minister Smriti Irani last week.

Student unions have joined the anti-course clamour too. These include BJP student wing ABVP and the Congress-affiliated NSUI.

The fresh uncertainty has coincided with the start of the DU admission season — the first cut-offs are due next week — with many applicants worried about the fate of the course they are signing up for.

Answers on site

DU has decided to upload answer keys of entrance exams on its website within 24 hours of the test. Such exams are mainly held for vocational courses.