Come July, Delhi University (DU) will have implemented its new four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) — the admission process begins on June 5.
The FYUP was conceptualised during the term of former vice chancellor, Deepak Pental. Talking to HT Education, he said, “In 2008, the Indian National Science Academy set up a committee which proposed a four-year model to replace the existing three-year degree in science. The reason was that students studying specialisation courses need to go beyond the ‘focused’ honours course. For example, if a biologist doesn’t study maths or language, he/she won’t be able to cope up with the way data is developing. As per the requirement of modern times, students need knowledge-based skills no matter what they study –mathematics or physics or history. And, this can be possible only if there are backup courses.”
This is also not something new. “Universities such as Ambedkar and Allahabad are running four-year courses. Even the IITs have it in place with the semester system. It’s time liberal degrees come at par with the professional ones. The dichotomy between liberal and professional education should be removed,” Pental added.
But what was wrong with the three-year course? “The three-year course had outlived its use in contemporary India. The syllabus was old, not relevant to the requirements of today’s world. It had to be revised in the modern Indian context,” said Malashri Lal, dean (academics), DU.
This year, DU aspirants will choose a major course called discipline course 1 at the time of admission. Students will also study 11 common foundation courses, a minor course of their choice called discipline course 2 and four skill-based applied courses. Besides this, they will also engage in a compulsory paper titled integrating mind, body and soul.
When asked how a student in a four-year course will have an advantage over those getting honours degree in three years, Lal said, “The philosophy of DU’s four-year programme is holistic education. There is no reduction in the density of knowledge communication, only a research component has been introduced. The foundation courses (taught in the first two years) will address core challenges of contemporary India such as economic development, urbanisation, environment and public health, ethics, society and justice, etc. This will sharpen students’ adapting and analytical skills.”
Refuting the claims that the foundation courses are similar to what is taught in schools, Lal says, “Subjects like the environment or maths can be taught to an eight-year-old and a research student as well.
But what makes the difference is the content. The teaching methodology in the foundation courses is participative and project-based.”
According to the new degree nomenclature, students will be offered two exit options during the course — at the end of second and third years.
If a student decides to opt out of the course after completion of the first two years, he/she will get an associate diploma. At the end of third year, the student can opt out with a bachelor’s degree. If he/she completes four years, a bachelor with honours will be awarded. Those who take the exit option after two or three years will be entitled to join the university again if they return within eight years of enrolment.
But what would a diploma be worth? “Every year, about 30% students drop out from the university. And they don’t get a piece of paper that says they spent so much time in the university. If a student chooses to exit after two years, he/she will get knowledge-based skills through foundation courses, he/she will have done some courses of discipline 1 and applied courses. At least their employability will go up in comparison to a drop-out student,” said Lal.
A DU official elaborated further, “For instance, if a student takes admission in zoology, he/she may not want to go for research or higher studies. So, in a paper like human physiology, we will put them through practicals like blood testing, kidney function, liver function, ECG, EEG. If a student plans to exit the course after two years, he will be able to work at a pathology lab, besides having analytical ability and communication skills.
However, there are limitations in terms of infrastructure, so it is questionable whether the university will be able to teach the foundation courses effectively. According to Lal, the authorities are trying to address all issues. “We are working on it. Regular meetings are taking place with the college principals and most of the colleges are ready to handle this issue. Also, orientation workshops are being conducted for teachers to train them for the foundation courses,” she added.
While supporters claim that the FYUP is the need of the hour, there are many who oppose the four-year degree course on various grounds. Commenting on the opposition, Harish Trivedi, adviser, academic publications, said, “It is amazing how dissent has generated without proper analysation. I think this is what we call democracy. The three-year course was first brought in 1943, 70 years ago. Institutes die when they do not change. Something big and new is happening with the introduction of the four-year degree programme. How it will be implemented in the classroom – that time will tell. But once it settles, everyone needs to work together to see how to make it a success. It should remain a work in progress.”
Registration for undergraduate courses at the University of Delhi starts on June 5, 2013. All aspirants will need to fill in a common pre-admission form (OMR) to be available both online and offline. They may obtain hard copies of the common pre- admission forms (OMR) at the following centres:
North Delhi/Central Delhi
* Miranda House, north campus
* Kirori Mal College, north campus
* Faculty of Arts, north campus
* Swami Sharadhanand College, Alipur
* Zakir Husain College, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg
* Jt. Dean, Students’ Welfare, Office (South Campus)
* Deshbandhu College, Kalkaji
* ARSD College, Dhaula Kuan
* Gargi College, Siri Fort Road
* PGDAV College, Nehru Nagar, Ring Road
* College of Vocational Studies, Sheikh Sarai
* BR Ambedkar College, Yamuna Vihar
* Shyam Lal College, Shahadara
* Vivekananda College, Vivek Vihar
* Maharaja Agrasen College, Mayur Vihar Phase 1
* Rajdhani College, Raja Garden
* Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College, Punjabi Bagh
* Bhagini Nivedita College, Kair, Najafgarh
For more details, visit du.ac.in or call the information centre at 155215 (10 lines), 011-27006900 (10 lines).
School of Open Learning
Sale of applications is on
Last date for submitting application forms without late fee: August 14
Last date for submitting application forms with late fee of Rs. 200: August 16-September 2
Aspirants can purchase the form and submit it at SOL, North Campus, DU and South Study Centre of SOL at South Moti Bagh