Delhi University’s nearly seven thousand first-year students gave feedback on the four-year-undergraduate programme (FYUP), especially the foundation courses, with around 80% happy with the course, saying that their base had been strengthened, vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh said on Thursday.
A number of students, however, have also complained about teacher absenteeism in the feedback forms. According to officials, 70% of the colleges in DU face issues of teacher absenteeism.
The initiative also recognised several professors for their contribution, with 39 teachers from 37 DU colleges awarded for their work. Interestingly, two teachers popular with the students– Debraj Mookerjee (Ramjas College) and Rudrashish Chakraborty (Kirori Mal College) are fiercely opposed to the FYUP. Chakraborty even refused to accept the award.
The university also awarded seven retired professors and two service personnel for their service.
While one section asked the students to highlight the name of a good teacher, another section asked students to list classes where they did not feel encouraged to think freely.
Roshini Subba, who teaches foundation course in Literature, Language and Creativity at Satyawati Colleege (evening), was among the awardees.
"The foundation courses give you the freedom to move beyond the constraints of the text, syllabus and time frame. There is no rush to finish the syllabus. In my classes, the students would be free to explore various aspects of a problem. For a project on water pollution, the students studied what is happening with the Yamuna in Delhi, the attempts being made to clean it and the failure and success. These things broaden a student’s thought process," she said.
The highest number of awards — 12 —was given to teachers who were teaching Literature, Language and Creativity.
For Debraj Mookerjee, who is extremely popular with students for the past several years, making students ask the right question is the key.
"The moment when a boy from Baghpat questions the logic behind disallowing a woman the right to wear the clothes of her choice after marriage while a Malabari girl in her headscarf quietly applauds him is precious. My job is to make my students question everything, including me," he said.
Even though the university had given students the opportunity to give confidential feedback, most gave their names and had no problem in being identified even if their comments were negative.
In the feedback, students complained against teachers who skip classes regularly. According to university sources, one teacher in a south campus college took only two classes in the entire first semester. Another teacher wrote to college authorities, saying he would not take more than four classes per week.