SAVE DELHI UNIVERSITY! दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय को बचाओ! Critiques of the 4 year graduation, Press Reports, Campaign info
From July 2013, DU plans to scrap the 3-year BA/BSc courses and start a 4-year course. Students of DU will have to study an extra year to get an honours degree while students in other universities finish in 3 years. WHY? Will they learn more in the extra year? NO! The extra year has been filled up with 11 compulsory “Foundation” courses in English, Hindi, Maths, Science, Commerce, History, Political Science, Psychology, Geography, etc. EVERY student – whether from Arts, Science or Commerce streams – will have to do all the 11 courses, and ALL of them in the first two years! They will therefore be very general school-level courses. For students coming from different streams they will either be very boring or too difficult.
The VC claims that students will have more choices. What is the reality? Existing choices have been scrapped: all streams (Arts, Science, Commerce) have been merged, the choice between B.A. Pass/ B.Sc. General and Honours dropped, options of subjects and optional papers withdrawn, and all 11 “Foundation” courses made compulsory. The only “choice” is to exit after 2 (or 3) years with a low quality degree and low employment prospects. With fees rising, most students will not exit voluntarily but be forced to drop out early.
The 4 year model has been imported from the US; like in the US only those who can afford it will have a chance to complete the 4 years! Unlike the US model it offers no real choices.
No discussion took place on the merits or demerits of the new structure. Orders were issued on 5.3.2013 to hastily prepare syllabi for the new course structure within just 2 weeks! No additional infrastructure or teachers are being provided. No clarity exists about how many students per class, whether all students will fit in the classrooms or where the classes for the extra year will be held. With exams held twice a year, the exam system is already in a mess. Marks are arbitrarily inflated, marksheets display more marks than the total (102 out of 100 for example!). Is this the way to introduce such major changes? Will it not result in the devaluation of the Delhi University degree?
Currently, more than 4000 teaching posts (50%) are lying vacant. Ad hoc teachers or Guest Lecturers who teach in their place often have a job in one semester and are thrown out in the next. They are always worried about getting more regular employment and cannot develop any long-lasting relationship with their students. Talented young people are leaving teaching to look for other jobs. The VC has refused to respond to appeals to first fill the posts before introducing any major changes. How can a completely new course structure be launched with only 50% regular teachers?
Our struggle against so-called “reforms” started with the hurried imposition of the semester system in UG courses. Semesterization diluted the courses. It left no scope for in-depth study. Teachers and students are always in a rush to finish the syllabus for the exams at the cost of genuine learning. It left no time for sports and other extra-curricular activities. Study material is inadequate, particularly in Hindi. The double load of examinations has led to breakdowns. The fee for revaluation has been hiked. The practice of fictitious roll numbers to protect the identity of the student and the college, has been abolished, leaving room open for favouritism and victimisation. Now the 4-year course is being bulldozed even more hurriedly.
Students come to DU with hopes of a good education that will help them to get a good job. The VC’s “reforms” threaten the quality of education and the hopes of its students. This is part of a larger design – what has happened to public funded school education and medical facilities is now happening to Higher Education. Only when public funded Universities are systematically destroyed can foreign and private universities flourish and fleece the public.