Are DU students getting a bad deal?

ADMISSIONS 2013

If you open the first page of the admission brochure for the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), provided with the OMR sheet, there’s a message from the Vice Chancellor. 

Here, VC Dinesh Singh has talked about the implementation of FYUP. His message reads, ‘The old system needed to be re-engineered for your benefit. For instance, students were not easily being selected for jobs; the curriculum was not necessarily placing them in touch with real life issues. I am sure with these changes you will derive greater benefits.’

‘Benefits’ the term itself poses so many questions. Like if in case a student takes an exit after two years or three years will they have complete knowledge of their subject? Secondly, is FYUP sticking to the true meaning of higher education especially when they have introduced so many foundation courses of school level? And lastly, will it really help students in getting jobs even if they have not completed their four-year course?
This is what the critics among the teachers are saying. Answers to these questions are not addressed in his messages.

Besides, university administration seems to be least interested in answering these questions. “University won’t answer these questions because FYUP is largely a part of political pressure,” says Dr Tapas Rajan Saha, professor of Economics, Sri Aurobindo College. “With so many exit points, FYUP will only produce unqualified students who will be able to do only small jobs. Considering the fact that there are not too many jobs in the market, students with diploma or baccalaureate degree from the university will be part of that workforce who will be forced to work on low wages. And, as a result the quality of workforce will be diluted,” says Tapas.

According to several professors, this is just one part of its implications. “The society is already divided on the basis of socio-economic conditions and with the introduction of FYUP this gap will only widen. Extra financial burden with FYUP will force some students from the weaker section to quit midway. After four years, these kids will be looked upon as inferior to others and this will create an educational gap,” says Dr Uma Gupta, professor of Hindi, Indraprastha College for Women.

Besides the exit points, what is worrying some professors the most is the degradation in the quality of the course. “Whatever degree you will get through FYUP has lesser academic worth than before,” says Tapas. “By higher education we mean specialisation in a particular subject. Then why is there a need to make students invest their energy in other courses? If I talk about Economics there are total 50 papers out of which only 20 are related to the subject. This means 75 per cent of what I am studying is not related to the particular honours course that I have opted for,” he says.

Uma, too, shares the same point. She questions, “What is the need of the school level foundation course in the college when students have already studied them”?

Undoubtedly, it will be the students who will have to bear the brunt. “It’s not a question of choice anymore,” says Bhavna, who has applied for Political Science (Hons). 

“They are forcing students to do honours course even if they are interested in doing BA pass course. It is an extra financial burden on our families. I have applied for political science but right now I don’t have any idea about the other subjects which are to be opted and can support my major subject,” says Bhavna.

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