Delhi University recently launched the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) in an attempt to bring in flexibility to the education system that has been followed now for as long as people can remember. Ground reports suggest that out of the three parties involved in the execution of the programme two aren’t very pleased with its status quo- the teachers and the students. The teachers believe that it has been “hurriedly framed” without thinking much about the “relevance of certain subjects or the output that they will produce”.
The FYUP offers a variety of foundation courses, out of which a student must choose a minor in the second year that they will pursue along with the major that they declared at the time of admission. As the student progresses the focus on the major goes on increasing, while based on his/ her experience in first year he chooses a minor that appeals to his intellect and pursues it alongside the major. In theory it sounds perfectly fine- a more liberal programme offering a more dynamic education. The ground reality at the moment seems to be a little disheartening. In the first week of college teachers didn’t know what was happening. As they entered the second week little knowledge of the syllabus and course structure was known. Now, the teaching material is available but the teachers still don’t know how and on what basis the students will be tested in the examinations conducted by the university.
The foundation courses aren’t promoting “learning” which in itself is nullifying the objective of the programme. Surely students don’t come to university learn prime numbers in Mathematics or how to work using Microsoft Office! Somaya Gupta, a student pursuing Political Science Honours at Lady Shri Ram College says “I feel like I am back in school!” Priyal Malhotra, pursuing Btech Psychological Sciences at Daulat Ram College quoted, “foundation courses are just superficial and the teachers are not at all aware of what is happening and what they are supposed to do.” Since there is no compulsion in the form of marks for attendance to coerce students into attending lectures, the attendance is on a continual decline as the students don’t find the classes “useful” enough- they would rather spend this time pursing co-curricular activities that will enhance their learning curve. Nikita Agarwal, pursuing Economics Honours at Lady Shri Ram College said that she feels, there should be choices among the foundation courses so that they can focus on a few and learn something new.
Amidst all the furor and confusion it seems that nobody except the special task force set up by Delhi University is enthusiastic about the programme and aware of what is happening and what is to be done. Change is the only constant they say, but only change that promotes growth is of assistance. There is no point in changing for the sake of changing, just as there is no point in teaching just for the sake of teaching – precisely what is happening right now. What is the point in emulating foreign universities when we don’t have the manpower, infrastructure and resources to implement the same? What is the point of hurrying something through, something that is not well planned, well assessed and well coordinated? Students come to university to learn, to get out of the protected cocoon of school life, to experiment, to experience, to GROW; There is no doubt that a more flexible system is needed to nurture young minds, a system that is a modification of the old system, a system that is attuned to the changing environment, beliefs and aims of the 21st century India. We agree that the university is attempting to do just that. No doubt that a well deliberated system such as this can easily outweigh the old system in terms of its advantages. The doubt however arises when the attempt does not have the desired results.