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Winds of change at Delhi University

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HAS HIS WAY: V-C Deepak Pental
HAS HIS WAY: V-C Deepak Pental

Parul Sharma

Semester system to be introduced for under-graduate courses from 2010

NEW DELHI: Delhi University is all set to roll out the semester system for all under-graduate courses at the college level from the 2010-11 academic year.

Meeting here on Friday, the Academic Council of the University passed by an “overwhelming majority” the proposal to introduce the semester system for under-graduate programmes from next year.

The far-reaching decision comes in the wake of a decision taken at a meeting of the Academic Council last year approving introduction of the semester system for the post-graduate courses from this coming new academic year 2009-10.

As of now, only some under-graduate courses such as Journalism (Honours) have a semester system in place.

“We passed the resolution by voice vote. The semester system is being introduced in the post-graduate courses from this year. Now we are moving to the under-graduate level. The University can’t have a different type of calendar for under-graduate and post-graduate courses. There has to be some uniformity,” Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental told The Hindu.

However, a number of teachers have voiced their opposition to the new semester system.

At the Academic Council meeting also several elected members raised objections over the issue.

“The staff councils of a number of colleges have either rejected this semester system proposal or questioned it. The resolution was passed amid pandemonium at the meeting. I was not even sure that it had been passed because there was so much of chaos!” said an Academic Council member, Abha Dev Habib.

Another member, J. Khuntia, added: “The way the proposal has been forced, it is not desirable. The V-C suddenly ended the meeting. We did not even know what happened. It was done in such a haphazard manner. He just signalled to some members who raised their hands. It is unfortunate that democratic procedures were not followed.”

All elected members of the Academic Council who were present on Friday have signed a memorandum condemning “undemocratic behaviour of the V-C who abruptly ended the meeting without transacting any business”.

Meanwhile, a statement from the University read: “With the introduction of the semester system in its teaching programmes, the University is poised to introduce many advantages in its teaching activities, such as according credits for courses that will enable students a degree of flexibility in choosing courses.”

“Students will also be able to acquire an interdisciplinary orientation hitherto not available to them. It must be noted that this decision brings the University in line with most universities of the world with the attendant freedom of movement for students to seek credit from sister institutions,” it added.

Prof. Pental sought to dismiss the teachers’ opposition: “They were protesting because they wanted a blueprint of the system. Now that we have decided to implement it, we will work together to get a blueprint also. We will set up a committee for that.”

With the new system in place, the college students will have to appear in exams twice in an academic year. The internal assessment component will also be woven into it accordingly.

“The details will be worked out by the committee,” said a University official.

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