The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) may have refused to interfere in the standoff between the Delhi University and the University Grants Commission over the four-year undergraduate programme this time, but in 2013 it had supported the course.
In a reply sent to the High Court in relation to a PIL against the course sent on July 23, 2013, the MHRD has clearly stated that the university is a statutory autonomous body and all academic decisions are taken by it on approval by the Academic and Executive council and the University Court.
“It (DU) has complied with all formal requirements as per the University Act, Statutes and Ordinance for introducing FYUP from July 2013. In view of the above, there is no ground or occasion for the Ministry to take an otherwise view on an academic decision like this,” the letter stated.
The letter also states that the FYUP is in conformity with the UGC regulations. It also points out that the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore had also announced a four-year Bachelor of Science programme.
The MHRD may not have spoken out against the Vice Chancellor nor questioned the university’s autonomy but it has not come out in the university’s defence either — a position contrary to the one it took last year.
The letter has also pointed out that the name FYUP is a misnomer as only those students who are seeking an honours degree will have to stay for four years. The others can leave in two years with a diploma or in three years with a simple bachelor degree.
This is a position that the university has also communicated to the UGC but was rejected by the regulatory body which declared that the course was against the National Education Policy that says that an undergraduate degree should be three years long.
What has changed in this one year is the regime. “The Pallam Raju-led ministry had taken a stand that Delhi University is an autonomous institution and it would not take any step in contravention of that status. MHRD is nowhere in the picture even now. The issue is between DU and UGC,” said a senior MHRD official.
(With inputs from Neha Pushkarna)