Four Year University Program
This is not about the BJP, the Congress, the American system, the VC or the UGC. If you are wedded to any of these or believe that I am, then this is as good a time as any to move on. There's a lot of Facebook waiting for prejudice. Why not go there and unload? You may find this boring.
FYUP has been extremely poorly marketed. The vast majority of those who oppose it vociforously actually have no clue what the FYUP is all about. The ignorant are lucky; they can shout the loudest without even a pang of guilt.
1. The biggest fallacy first. By calling it FYUP, the University ended up misrepresenting it as a four year course. This did it enormous disservice. In actual fact the course has been disaggregated.
Graduation is still a three-year process. A student can get a Bachelor's degree after 3 years. This BA Pass degree will enable him/her to sit for the MBA or the civil services or many other professional courses and get many jobs such as in media which do not need an honors degree.
The additional fourth year is only for those who opt for an honors degree. The belief is that once the craze for honors subsides, fewer would opt for this and those who will do so will invariably be the ones whose aspirations are somehow related to academics or preparing for competitive exams. By the way, those who get an honors degree can then complete their Masters in one year instead of two as of now. So there is really no loss of a year.
Additionally, should a student want to leave after just two years, he/she will still get a diploma. Over a period of time this may become a new benchmark for several jobs where, for want of another benchmark, employers currently demand graduation even though the nature of the job does not call for graduation. Eg Security and courier agency supervisors , sales supervisors, drivers and so on. For all such people the FYUP means saving of a year. Though their number is large, they have no voice on FB and so this benefit goes unheralded.
There is more. It will be possible to do a two-year diploma, take a break and come back to complete the honors degree. This flexibility is a boon in an environment where more and more children want to take a break and create savings before rejoining to do the balance two years.
2. There are changes within the programme too.
Out of the 20 courses in the main subject, 5 will be applied courses. This satisfies the frequent criticizm that the Indian system focuses more on theory and less on application.
In addition, the student will also have 6 courses in an additional subject of choice. Frequently students passing out of school end up dropping subjects they actually like only because those subjects are not available in the course they select. Now no longer. A student can choose a second subject for serious study and not a subsidiary just to be passed as in earlier times.
In fact the student can even pursue a Masters in the second subject.
3. And finally the aspect which has exercised parents of students who have completed their first year. The University has introduced a set of the so-called Foundation courses in a whole variety of subjects ranging from culture and civilization, governance and citizenship and art and poetry including a value-based skill like NCC or sports etc. The experience of year one suggests discontent among some parents on this course content.
There are two aspects to this.
One, in an environment where nothing is more important than jobs, parents and students alike are conditioned into believing that anything that does not help get a job is a waste. This is a very desi problem as the same parents never tire of announcing that in the US, their son is actually studying appreciation of art alongwith his regular BSc degree. This requires the universtity to evangelise the need for foundation courses particularly with parents most of whom have emerged out of BA factories.
But secondly, equally this could be a serious flaw in the course content or teaching style. Either way the university needs to focus on this. After all if one year is spent on doing stuff the worth of which is being seriously questioned then why do it? If parents need to be taken into confidence in developing the syllabus, so be it. This is just the kind of minor detail that could jettison the entire project.
On behalf of the university I would add that the BJP's obstructing it for the sake of obstruction added a dimension of uncertainty which is never a good idea at the time of launch of a new initiative.
And finally, why do I believe a minister who had been through college may have understood it better? When you are starving, all you want is dal-roti. Only after that do other aspects start mattering...the flavor, taste, presentation, nutrition and so on.
A minister without the benefit of college is still in the dal roti stage. FYUP is a sophisticated dish that is wasted on her. Give her dal roti and three-year BA. That is as much as she will understand.
DU announced FYUP to
1. better Target courses to industrial requirements.
2. To make the UG course equivalent to international UG courses.
Problem with the course:
1. Syllabus was drafted in a hurry and the most of it is too basic thus defeating its purpose.
2. It violates the National Policy on Education that mandates a 10+2+3 format
3. The change was not brought about through an amendment of the Universities Act; the President (the Visitor to all central universities) was not consulted either.
1. UGC had supported the University’s move last year and said that as per the Indian Education Commission (1964-66), the duration of a programme may vary from varsity to varsity and also within the same varsity.
2. FYUP programme was approved by the academic council and the executive council of the university, which are statutory bodies under the Delhi University Act of 1922
1. Section 12 (1) of the UGC Act clearly states: “It is the duty of the Commission to determine and maintain standards in higher education in consultation with the universities [emphasis added].” This makes it incumbent on the UGC to respect the institutional autonomy of all universities and accord them due deference and latitude in complying with its regulations. This is necessary to empower universities to undertake bold academic initiatives.
2.Some other universities are also not following the 10+2+3 policy but they have not been declared illegal (IISC and Ambedkar University , Delhi)
3. warning the colleges that their grants will be cut if they do not comply with the UGC’s directive reflects the body’s patronising attitude toward institutions of higher learning.
4. to ask a university to scrap its existing undergraduate programme and introduce a new programme in the middle of the admission process is inexplicable.
My Personal Viewpoint
Although UGC's 180 degree turn and undermining of DU's autonomy does not presents a good picture for the future of higher education in India but making reforms for just the sake of it also doesn't augurs well on part of DU. If it wanted to bring changes then they should have been properly planned and executed. But nonetheless revolutionary changes are required to bring Indian education system at par with that of the world.
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