(A Delhi University student's personal account of the Four Year Undergraduate Programme controversy.)
The most fascinating advice given to me by a Delhi University senior before I stepped into college this time last year was, "Don't go to Delhi University. Apply anywhere else."
Reflecting on the way things have turned out, I suppose it would have been a decent idea to give her suggestion some serious thought. Looking back on the first two semesters under the much debated Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), I can safely say that a large part of it was a colossal waste of time.
As a student of a prominent North Campus college, it was in morbid fascination that I would watch qualified professors make us revise the intricacies of prime numbers, dole out instructions on how to turn on a highly complicated gadget known as a laptop, and go back to traumatising eighth grade history and science. (Read: Foundation courses in FYUP)
Naturally, all my musings took a backseat when the UGC finally stuck its foot into the door leaving us in limbo.
"My course is illegal!"
We're left not knowing what we're going to study next year. We're left not knowing what degree we're going to get and when. If this wasn't enough, a course we willingly took admission in is being abolished and we have absolutely no say in it.
Whose mistake is it? The student community's anger is directed at many levels of authority- on the VC, for pushing the FYUP in such haste, on the UGC for being in a coma for over a year and then waking up like a hibernating bear on crack, on the past government and the current one for completely contrary oversights which have proved equally disastrous- one stayed silent even as parliamentary marches were held, the latter took a last minute and absolutely horrific decision without pausing to consider the consequences.
While political student bodies hold victory dances at the Faculty of Arts, lakhs of students wait in line. Some of the brightest minds of the country are in a position of embarrassment and ridicule, no thanks to this political and egoistic clash. Before admission, the concept of FYUP seemed plausible, even attractive. But dear DU, everything needs time to be implemented and your 'experiment' lacked room for our choice.
Why is it always about scrapping and implementing a course anew? Examining the course structure and content critically with an aim to improve the FYUP itself is where academics should direct their attention to.
VC Dinesh Singh can be criticized with good reason, but the fact remains that in a university where many argue against the prospect of change, without pausing to consider the merits of it, he did provide a new path, of sorts - which ultimately led to your neighbourhood bin.
(Zoya Chadha has completed her first year of Bachelors with a major in English Literature at Ramjas College. The views expressed are personal.)