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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Scrapping FYUP has taken a toll on educational reforms

Neha Pushkarna, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 02, 2014
First Published: 00:47 IST(2/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:53 IST(2/7/2014)

The abolition of the four-year undergraduate programme may have brought cheer for many. But it had ushered in some academic reforms, which are now gone. Many teachers, in hushed tones, admit they are going to miss them.

Interactive classrooms

It was unlikely for Garvit Mehta, a student of Mathematics (hons), to ever make a project on Indian History & Culture but for FYUP. He was irritated at first but came out of the project learning about old cities in the country and formation of modern cities with lots of number-crunching and studying bar graphs.

“Teaching in DU has always been lecture-based. But now, PowerPoint presentations and projects had become mandatory for each student. As a result, a teacher also had to be thoroughly engaged in the whole process,” said Sanjay Kumar, faculty, Zakir Husain Postgraduate Evening College and member, Academic Council. Every student did one presentation and one project in the first year which carried a total of 55 marks.

Though some students complained that their colleges did not have adequate infrastructure to support such practices, many universities abroad and progressive institutions in the country follow the same pattern.

Discipline Course II

Students moving into the third semester had an option to choose another subject of their choice (based on merit). So if a student had to take admission in Chemistry (hons) as DC I because the cutoff for Mathematics (hons) was too high, he could, at this point, opt for studying math as DC II - the second main subject. DU had planned that students would be able to study enough DC II papers to be eligible for a post-graduation in that subject.

“No matter how much teachers and students criticized FYUP, it gave us an opportunity to explore options and not get stuck to one subject. An 18-year-old is still confused about what subject he/she wants to pursue. The DC II subjects were flexible as well as useful,” said Aayushi Arora, Chemistry (Hons) student from Daulat Ram College.

Applied courses and research

For the first time, DU had offered to teach skill-based papers inside the traditional degree. So a student of English (hons) could study academic writing and composition, media and communication skills and English language teaching starting second semester for better opportunities later. Similarly, a zoology student was supposed to learn about medical diagnostics, poultry, animal husbandry as well as health and lifestyle.

Students, who would have carried on till the fourth year, had a chance to carry out full-fledged research in the main discipline. The three-year programmes will have papers, exams and internal assessment only.

Integrated Mind, Body & Heart

It was a value-based experimental course. Attendance was not compulsory and no marks were allotted. But for many students and teachers, the two IMBH periods per week provided a time to introspect and share.

“We had to use Gandhi’s ‘My experiments with Truth’ as a reference. Students opened up about their fears. There was a lot of informal learning happening,” said Abhay Kumar, who conducted IMBH at Shri Ram College of Commerce.

Extra seats for Honours courses

They have been given back to BA Programme and BCom in all colleges which had introduced honours courses last year.

(With inputs from Soumya Pillai)


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