The start of the new academic session at Delhi University (DU) also marks one year of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) rollback.
For several students admitted to the university in 2013, the last two academic years have been a roller-coaster ride. First, they were introduced to the FYUP structure and a year later, they were expected to adjust to the three-year course based on the semester system.
Shubhankar Jain, one of the over 50,000 students who were part of the first ever FYUP batch, says the last two years were “disastrous. We were forced to study unrelated subjects which were called foundation courses and had practically no level of difficulty. The subjects were of high school level and I could score 70% easily. In the second year, however, when FYUP was rolled back, things changed as there was suddenly more workload and the course was tough. As a result, my juniors in their first semester are studying what I am studying now. The rollback practically ruined my second academic year,” says Jain, who will be starting his final-year economics (hons) programme at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce.
Other FYUP batch students have had to make difficult adjustments with extra subjects in the semesters after DU reverted to the three-year bachelor’s degree. “We were supposed to study six main papers instead of four in the second year and in the final year it would be eight main papers instead of six,” one of the students said.
Another major issue is the removal of last two discipline-1 papers from each course. These were aimed at teaching students the basics of writing a research paper, important for those wanting to pursue higher studies.
There are also fewer core papers due to the revised structure of the degree. Siddharth Mantry, a final-year BCom (hons) student of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College, says, “Earlier, there were about 28 papers in BCom which were cut down to 18 after the introduction of FYUP. Ours will be the only batch to have studied fewer core subjects. Our juniors have 28 subjects.”
Some also feel bad about being denied the opportunity of choosing a minor subject. “We were asked to choose from a list 12 to 15 interesting courses as our discipline-2 papers. After the rollback, we had to study a subject chosen by our college, which was history. This does not make sense for students like me who are from the science/commerce backgrounds,” says Ritika Mahajan, a final-year student of English (hons) at College of Vocational Studies.
What the rollback meant for students and teachers
Adjusting with extra subjects
Limited choice of minor subjects
Difficulty in coping with new academic structure and syllabi
No real choice in interdisciplinary courses
Removal of last two discipline-1 papers from each course, which mean students studied fewer core courses
Increased work pressure
Dealing with large batch sizes
No clarity on syllabi
less time to teach