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Is The Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP) Destroying Quality Education In Delhi University?

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By Vishakha Dahiya:

Delhi University is a renowned educational institution in India. Every year we witness a huge number of applicants trying their best to get an admission there so that they have a chance to get educated by some of the best teachers of the country. However, the recent changes in the academic structure have brought the students at odds with the top academic committee of the university. The Vice Chancellor of DU, Dinesh Singh, might have to face the brunt until things get sorted out or at least till people see the change being executed successfully.


Let us see how FYUP works in DU –

– The FYUP was implemented from July 2013, spread across 8 semesters over 4 years.

– Introduction of 11 new “mandatory” foundation courses to choose from.

– Contrary to three year programme, FYUP will allow students to choose from both a major and a minor subject for specialization. This will be decided at the time of admission.

– One of the marked features of this programme is allowing students to study interdisciplinary courses irrespective of their stream of specialization. That means if you are an Arts student and Physics fascinates you as much, you might as well choose to study Physics as your minor.

– There will be 3 exit points —

1) Those who complete 2 years and exit the course will be awarded an “Associate Baccalaureate” degree

2) If you decide to quit the course after 3 years you receive a “Baccalaureate” degree.

3) If you survive all 4 years, you will be offered a “Honours” or a “B.Tech” degree

– No student will be held back in the semesters if he/she doesn’t manage to pass all the courses.

“Nothing fair”, “roll back FYUP”, “Burdened not nurtured”

With slogans like these, FYUP is clearly not welcomed by the students who are looking forward to getting admission in DU. Its reputation is at stake as they call it a “historic” movement. The new FYUP has become the talk of the town. Recently, a large number of students protested on the streets of Delhi and held debates as part of “Save Delhi University Campaign”. The main concern of the students was that they feel burdened with excessive work in terms of project work, GD, presentations etc. Students coming from mediocre schools with a fear of public speaking will be the worst sufferers. They also had doubts on the capabilities of the teachers to teach the new foundation courses. Many teachers feel betrayed and don’t stand responsible for the FYUP as their feedback was not considered while bringing in this change. DU might also need to roll out new vacancies as many teachers have opposed FYUP. The big questions is – Is DU infra-structurally prepared to bring in this change of introducing 1 extra year? I have my doubts on that.

The University is only focused on “producing” job ready individuals. One of the DU students said — “We are fully against FYUP. It is indirectly opening ways for foreign universities and inviting them. This will lead to privatization of education whereas education needs to be responsibility and priority of the government in a developing country like ours.”

Many people have come forward and signed a petition against this introduction of extra 1 year course in academics. DU Students’ mass delegation to Delhi CM for affordable education, transport and accommodation has been called by the All India Students’ Associaton (AISA) on some very crucial issues faced by the students. The demands are of immediate action regarding:

· Concessional student metro pass And metro feeder facility for all colleges.

· Uniform concessional student bus pass for all AC, Non-AC, Cluster Buses.

· Regulation of room rent, arranging affordable accommodation, ending the exploitation of students by the broker-landlord nexus.

· Scraping FYUP. Awarding Honours degree in 3 years to the current batch.

A Dharna has also been called by the ABVP on 15 January followed by a strike on 17 January 2014. Pamphlets were distributed urging students to join hands in this mass movement.

The FYUP was formulated in less than a year. Well, faster than the introduction of the LokPal Bill . And yes, all said in sarcasm. With everything said and done, I hope the enthusiasm among the students to study in DU doesn’t fade away. DU is one the most amazing places to study in and we can only hope that it continues the legacy of mentoring the best minds in the country.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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