Even as Delhi University races against time to work out the logistics of the four-year undergraduate course, it has come under fire from what is considered an important quarter – the teachers who will be instrumental in tipping the balance between success and failure.
“In the four years, a student has to do a total of 42 credit courses of which as many as 11 are compulsory ‘foundation’ courses in various disciplines, such as ‘Building Mathematical Ability’, ‘Science and Life’ and ‘Psychology’. Since these foundation courses are all compulsory for all students irrespective of the streams they come from, they are of a rudimentary standard,” said St. Stephen’s Economics teacher Nandita Narain, adding that the unique selling point of Delhi University has always been its rigorous Honours courses but that with the new scheme allowing only 20 of the 42 courses for the honours subject, it would get hugely diluted.
“Thus, more than one-fourth of the overall course content will be occupied by these school level courses. Essentially, the extra fourth year added to the existing three-year undergraduate honours programme is taken up by these foundation courses,” she said, demanding to know “does this justify the extra time taken and expense borne by a student in terms of both fees and living expenses to acquire an undergraduate degree?”
“A large university like ours, which caters to 1.5 lakh students in regular courses, cannot be experimented upon every two years. The university administration has failed to respond to the problems which semester system has resulted in. It was important for the university administration to initiate review of ‘semesterisation’; instead they are rushing yet another reform which essentially uses semester system,” said Miranda House Physics teacher Abha Dev Habib.
Furthermore, she said, the shift from three-year graduation programme to a four-year course is a much larger issue than the shift from annual to semester. “We are in 10+2+3 scheme under the National Policy of Education. It is not for a Central University to shift to four-year graduation programme in isolation. Such a change should be arrived at only after due deliberations at the national level,” she added.
The work load of teachers would also increase. Many of the teachers said that the current infrastructure was inadequate in itself and that they could not comprehend how the university intended to implement the ambitious four-year course with no matching infrastructure.