Anyone wishing to enter Delhi University from June onward should better prepare for a whole new perspective on college education. There will be no B.Com. (Honours), no B.Com. and not even a B.A. degree waiting for the students at the end of three years. In fact, there will be no three-year degree.
The four-year undergraduate programme, a soon-to-be reality and the only type of undergraduate course on offer in all of the Delhi University’s 77 colleges, is so different from what is being offered in the rest of the country that even the traditional nomenclatures will not be used.
Now students would be able to just leave at the end of two years and not be considered a college drop-out but an “Associate Baccalaureate.” On studying up to the end of three years, a student would be a Baccalaureate and after four years a Baccalaureate with honours in whichever subject he or she chooses like Psychology or Physics. But there will no longer be a cohesive stream degree like B.Sc. or BA.
There will also be no compartmentalisation of stream work, only majors and minors, in which students can choose to mix some Humanities and Commerce subjects, while majoring in one stream.
Major subjects will be called Discipline One and minor subjects will be called Discipline Two. So, if a student wants a degree in say English, he or she will have to choose it as their major subject and choose to minor in any Discipline Two subjects. This would allow for intermingling of streams, wherein they could have English or History as a major and Mathematics or Accounts as the minor. There will also be five “application courses” which are practical classes relating to Discipline One subjects.
“Traditionally, an honours degree lets you have 70 per cent weightage in one subject, it will be the same way in the four-year course, where Discipline One will have about 20 papers over four years and Discipline Two will have six papers over four years,” said S. K. Garg, a member of the committee, which has been entrusted with the task of turning the vision of the four-year undergraduate course into reality.
Another feature is that except for a Science major, a student can choose any discipline regardless of the Class XII stream background and also change the minors and majors mid-way through the course, except that they will need to clear all 20 papers to qualify for an honours degree and also to do a post-graduate course in the same subject.
Discipline subjects, however, do not start until the third semester. In the first two years, no matter which stream a student had in Class XII, there will be some foundation classes that are compulsory like Language, Literature, and Creativity-I (Hindi or Mixture of Indian Languages); Language, Literature, and Creativity-II (English); Information Technology, Business, Entrepreneurship and Management; Governance and Citizenship; Philosophy, Psychology, Communication and Life Skills; Geographic and Socio-Economic Diversity; Science and Life; History, Culture and Civilization; Building Mathematical Ability; Environment and Public Health.
Apart from this, there is a compulsory course, “integrating mind body and heart”, for the first two semesters. Another compulsory subject, “cultural activities,” will be there for all eight semesters.
‘No scope for failure’
The greatest advantage of the new structure is that there is no scope for failure. “Even if a student gets a zero for a subject, we won’t fail him. He has to be present at the exam, that’s all. The only thing that matters is that students have an overall score of 45 per cent from all the theory papers for the two-year associate degree or the three-year degree,” added Mr. Garg.
The admission procedure remains unchanged, except that SC/ST admissions will be decentralised with the colleges bringing out a separate cut-off list for these students.
However, certain courses in some streams will be withdrawn and certain courses will be added. “The number of seats will remain the same but they can be re-appropriated. Some colleges want to open new honours courses and depending on the teaching strength the number of seats available for each course will be decided,” said South Campus director Umesh Rai.
Mr. Rai added that the committee meeting was yet to finalise all the modalities of the four-year scheme and that a few changes could be expected in courses and even the foundation courses might change. Everything will be clear and final only after mid-April when the Academic Council is scheduled to vet the final plan. A letter explaining the issues in detail about the four-year undergraduate course will then be sent to all the colleges.