The article “How to destroy a university” (April 29) has clearly spelt out the contours of the impending disaster in the hallowed corridors of Delhi University. The drastic changes proposed in the structure and content of undergraduate courses need to be discussed more widely, before they are imposed on a seemingly powerless university population. The new structure can come into force in 2014, giving all stakeholders a chance to have their voices heard and for the university authorities to moderate their zeal for reform.
As a former head of a college under the aegis of the University of Delhi, I dread to think of the chaos in the new academic term and the sense of frustration and ‘unemployability’ of the first set of Associate Baccalaureates.
The proposed four-year pattern is likely to destroy the credibility of the undergraduate course. The first two years will be spent on dabbling in new subjects. Associate Baccalaureates will thus be jacks of all trades but masters of none. They will be totally lost in the job market or will have to accept low-paying jobs. The pressure on teachers too will be considerable. Like their students, they too will have no idea of what is going to happen in the times to come.
I hope better sense will prevail on the authorities concerned. If at all a change has to be brought in, it should be done after wider discussions. Students should be given a choice to opt for the new course or continue with the old syllabus.
What is most baffling is the urgency with which the university wants to make the changes — without adequate consultations with the faculty and students. This is more or less a replay of the implementation of the semester system by the university a couple of years ago. Widespread expressions of dissent in the mass media may persuade Delhi University to rethink its decision and devote more time to assessing all aspects of such a phenomenal reform.
Although the reasons behind the proposed changes are not clear, it is reasonable to presume that Delhi University is keen on bringing its standards on a par with the world’s best institutions. But the authorities must take the faculty into confidence. Ultimately, it is the teachers who have to grapple with the problems that may arise on account of the structural changes.
Equally important is to examine whether parents are ready to support their wards for an additional year.
A. Michael Dhanaraj,
Changes are necessary to keep pace with the changing aspirations of people. We cannot continue to follow the age-old system when the outside world is changing fast. But when a premier institution like Delhi University decides to make changes to its pattern, it should do so on the basis of detailed discussions with all stakeholders as rightly pointed out by the writer. Any hasty change will adversely affect the future of thousands of students.
I welcome the pattern consisting of 11 foundation courses. They include subjects most relevant to the global scenario. A basic knowledge in IT, entrepreneurship and governance is required for all job interviews and competitive examinations. It is the lack of such courses in many universities that forces students to take extra coaching.
As an academician, I cannot but appreciate the proposed innovations. Today, university education is slowly losing its charm and value. We cannot be indifferent to this alarming situation. The move to introduce a Baccalaureate undergraduate course is welcome. There may be unforeseen hindrances; we have to correct ourselves in due course. The change that Delhi University is about to implement will certainly draw the attention of all universities in the country.
Babu Rao Basala,