By Sakshi Jain:
I feel like I have escaped by the skin of my teeth when I see the convoluted propositions of the academic structure by Delhi University – my seniors being the trap of erstwhile FYUP and juniors being that of CBCS. The propositions, despite being implemented with the aim of enhancing the course structure and making it open-ended, have had the contradictory impact of limiting the horizon because of their non-viability.
Both the provisional propositions seemed to offer myriad of choices in designing the structure of courses, with CBCS tending to offer greater autonomy to students in terms of self-designing their course. The provision of pursuing generic electives or minor subjects (an elective course generally chosen from an unrelated discipline/subject, with an intention to seek exposure) for the first time in CBCS seems to be promising. A similar structure was offered in the form of Discipline Course II under the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), which was scrapped last year.
The policy shows some big flaws when implemented. The University offers students a pool of subjects to choose from for their general electives. However, this multidisciplinary approach is not feasible when it comes to execution due to logistical and infrastructural restraints. Since the option of general elective subjects can be as diverse as choosing any other Honours course, the absence of all courses in all colleges is a major hindrance to the proper execution of this system. There are many colleges that offer only humanities and commerce courses, and then there are colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce that offers only three subjects – English, Commerce and Economics. So, what happens to the other choices? The dearth of choices makes the students bear the brunt of studying undesirable subjects.
Since the idea of majority leading the crowd holds true in every sphere, the choice of deciding one’s electives rests on the decision of the majority. Even within a college that offers fifteen honours courses, the choice is limited to two or three since the college cuts down to offering only those subjects that are preferred by a majority of students. “I was fortunate to get Economics as my elective but since our final options had been reduced to three out of fifteen, many people had to suffer,” says a student from Journalism Department, Lady Shri Ram College.
Individual choices have no space in this system, because of logistical issues in designing the timetable of every individual of a particular course and the infrastructural issue of accommodation. “According to the University’s mandate, there can’t be more than 60 students in one classroom. So we really can’t give the students the choices they make,” says a faculty member of Sri Venkateswara College.
The system could have been beneficial had the homogeneity in terms of courses in all colleges been present. The lack of foresight has created a fuss in the colleges of D.U. through irregular schedules of classes which has in turn affected all the batches. Despite the course being a choice based course, no real choice is guaranteed to students.