By Tarushi Varma:
It has been a year since the implementation of four-year undergraduate program, introduced by Delhi University. It has become a centre of much controversy in the media. With legal restrictions and widespread protests from DU’s employees and students alike, the authorities at DU are already facing much heat. But amongst all the mess and confusion, there are still some who support the decision and defend FYUP’s stand.
Amidst all this commotion, it is only logical to examine the new curriculum closely to determine whether it has more advantages or disadvantages. So here is a brief about the courses and subjects offered by the university that we all should know in order to ‘decode’ the controversy around FYUP.
FYUP includes eight semesters (4 years) and offers wide choice of subjects to students. The most salient feature of the program is that students can chose two discipline courses (DC); one as their major or DC-I and the other as minor or DC-II, and it is not necessary for them to be from similar backgrounds. For example, if a student is studying sciences as DC-I, then he/she can peruse History, Political Science or English as the minor. This enables students to follow more than one subject line that they are interested in, which was not earlier possible in the three year undergraduate program. Plus the subjects offered in DC-I and DC-II courses have been increased and offer an extensive choice to students.
In addition, foundation courses have been introduced, and all students, irrespective of their field, have to study these courses. But the twist here is that these courses are very elementary in nature and can prove very scoring for students. FYUP has also introduced a third kind of course in the program, known as Applied Courses (AC) starting from the 3rd semester; which again offers a very interesting syllabus structure. For example, if a student opts for Economics as the AC, then his/her syllabus structure for 3rd and 4th semester will include Game Theory and Financial Economics, which are new subjects introduced by the university. Here again, a student can chose any course of his/her liking from a wide arena of courses offered which were not previously a part of the three year undergraduate program.
The four year program was introduced by the Delhi University (DU) in the hope that it would take the standard of education at Delhi University to an international level. Authorities at DU thought that it would set a model example for the rest of the nation and many other major universities will follow suit. But the actual response is a far cry from what was expected. At present, the UGC of the central government is alleging that FYUP was falsely implemented without the required approval from the President of India who is the head of the all central universities. This has put the authorities at DU in a fix with requests to review the new program again.
As the legal battle continues, the students at DU themselves can be seen debating this issue. A major reason of much criticism and opposition for FYUP is the hurried implementation of the curriculum and the lack of planning. The teachers were not prepared for a change in the curriculum and the syllabus had not been revised in time. As a result, the students were as confused as the teachers regarding the new test composition and the score mark up.
Hence, if FYUP is made to stay, then substantial changes need to be introduced by Delhi University. If they already are in place then strict implementation needs to be insured. Above all, the interest and benefit of students should be seen as the top priority, and teachers need to be better informed and trained for the new curriculum.