The introduction of semester system in Delhi University (DU) continues to face opposition from the teachers. And the protest is getting shriller as the March-end deadline to make necessary revisions in undergraduate course content (by March) comes closer.
The teachers, who oppose the new system, claim the course content will have to be cut to meet requirements of a semester-based system.
In a document dated November 4, 2009, the Empowered Committee for the Implementation of Semester System (ECISS) mentions, “Some papers may have to be dropped. This will also be an opportunity to update some of the papers…."
The point has irked teachers.
"To make way for the minor papers, the content of the honours course, which will also constitute the major papers, will have to be chopped substantially. This will mean some of the optional papers have to be dropped," an assistant professor of English said. “The optional papers allow a student to study outside canonised texts.”
The syllabus of the popular B.Com (Honours) course may be axed by 50 per cent, the teachers claim.
“Presently, we offer 19 papers. A cap of a maximum of 16 papers per subject will mean we have to cut down on the syllabus by half. We will also have to do away with the 18 specialised optional papers which we offer in the third year," said Shiba C Panda, assistant professor at Satyawati College.
Another area of conflict is the parent department and not the students will decide the minor papers.
“The whole idea about freedom given to a student to choose a minor paper is undercut with the parent department deciding the subject,” the assistant professor of English said.
S.K. Garg, principal of Deen Dayal Upadhyay College and secretary of the ECISS, said the apprehensions were unfounded. "There will be barely a change of five per cent in the existing syllabus,” he said.
On the question of students’ freedom to choose, he said, “No university in the world allows absolute freedom….”
Teachers are not convinced. “The current syllabus caters to the needs of all national-level competitive examinations. A cut in the course will leave students at a disadvantage,” said Abha Dev Habib, a physics teacher in Miranda House College.