Delhi university (DU) is struggling to attract students to its B.Sc. programme despite overhauling the course and lowering cutoffs to record lows this year.
“Despite keeping the PCM cutoff for B.Sc. Physical Science at 65 per cent we have 25 per cent vacant seats,” said a science teacher at Hindu College. The story is the same across colleges and teachers blame the poor response on the structure of the programme.
“The B.Sc. programme suffers from structural problems. Teachers are unhappy with the Life Sciences course. There are six theory papers and four practicals (down from six),” said Abha Dev Habib, physics teacher at Miranda House and Academic Council member. “This makes the syllabus very heavy and leaves very little time for self study,” Habib said.
However, she said the Physics and Math papers had been modified and changed to an extent. “In school students make informed choices not to study Math or Biology in Class XII and in the BSc programme they are made to study everything in the first year,” Habib said. “This makes it very difficult for students.”
AC member Pankaj Garg also felt some serious changes needs to be made in order to make the B.Sc. programme more attractive to students. “Earlier we used to close admissions at 69 to 70 per cent. Now we begin admissions at this cutoff and go down to the 50s,” Garg said.
However, the course structure was not the only reason behind the fall in interest in the B.Sc. programme. “You cannot do away with interdisciplinary teaching. In order to excel in Biology today you need some knowledge of Physics and Math and vice versa,” said Suresh Garg, principal, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College.
He added that the best students today went to engineering colleges. “The calibre of students being admitted has gone down. Add to that the fact that the B.Sc. general course was revised after a gap of 27 years. So students are finding it difficult to take in the moderately revised syllabus,” Garg said.
Delhi University had decided to revise the B.Sc. programme after it recorded more than 50 per cent failure of students in the 2007 examination. Students had also launched an agitation against the examination result and tough syllabus.