Surviving teething troubles and a series of protests, Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) is now completing a year. Looking at the last two semesters gone by and the third one coming up in the next academic session, we spoke to a few college principals to find out about the challenges they faced, how they coped and how they are gearing up for the next two semesters.
A shaky start
As the FYUP was new to students, many of them were apprehensive about it. ‘Studying 11 foundation courses and a total of 26 interdisciplinary courses or 20 disciplinary courses in Discipline 1 and six in Discipline 2 over the four-year period, sounded a lot in the beginning but we implemented it enthusiastically. It has been a smooth transition from the three-year degree to this four-year format for us. Students can go in for a specialisation after studying 20 papers in Discipline 1,” says Jaswinder Singh, principal, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College.
While students and teachers were initially concerned about the teaching methodology, course material, more stress on project and field work and time table, things seem to be falling in place at the end of the second semester. “We faced issues like training teachers for foundation courses and forming time tables, but things have improved gradually,” says Pradumn Kumar, officiating principal, Hindu College.
The FYUP has resulted in some positive changes, too, say a few principals.”The students and teachers have become more focused, attendance has also improved. For a vocational college like ours, the FYUP helped as our vocational courses like the human resources, marketing management and tourism management became part of the management studies programme. These have now become Discipline 1 and Discipline 2 courses. Another plus is that we have adapted the latest teaching techniques such as ICT. Students can opt for major and minor specialisations in these subjects,” says Inderjeet Dagar, principal, College of Vocational Studies.
Some of the principals believe that the FYUP delivers on its promise of offering interdisciplinarity. “All students have to study the foundation courses, which include science, commerce, humanities and language subjects. They can also choose six subjects from the same subjects in Discipline 2 and go for a specialisation in one of these at the master’s level,” says Kumar.
The way ahead
At Hindu College, students have been asked to indicate their choices for the Discipline 2 subjects and this data is being analysed by the college’s academic committee. “Students are free to express themselves and we will try to give them their first preference. The university has left it to the colleges to decide on the minimum number of students required for a group that will be offered their subject of choice. We plan to keep this number at 15.
The college, which does not offer subjects like geography and psychology, is also planning to invite guest faculty from other departments in these subjects if required. “Students can also take advantage of the Meta college for pursuing courses. In case a student opts for a particular subject, it is the responsibility of the college to provide the necessary infrastructure and faculty,” says Kumar.
Applied science students at specialist colleges like the Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences (BCAS) will only benefit from the four-year format, says college principal Manoj Khanna.
“The new BTech programme is ideal. For these students, a four-year degree in BTech is an advantage. Out of eight courses in our college, five are BTech. The FYUP also takes care of aspects such as business rules, organisational behaviour and writing skills of applied science students. Students have been asked to specify their subject preferences and are hoping that we will be able to offer them the subjects of their choice. It will be challenging for arts and commerce subjects though as we are awaiting a sanction of teachers. But we will try and cope by getting in ad hoc and guest faculty as we did for the foundation courses,” adds Khanna.
In case a large number of students opt for a particular Discipline 2 subject, SGTB Khalsa College will take into account their performance in the foundation courses
Jaswinder Singh, principal, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College