From being called anti-democratic, anti-people and a bad copy of the American model, the Four Year Graduation Programme has generated lot of controversy

Souzeina Mushtaq Delhi 

Divyanshi stood puzzled, listening to what the researcher was explaining to her, occasionally getting lost in random thoughts. She had recently cleared her 12th standard examination through Central Board of School Education (CBSE), and was now planning to join Delhi University for Bachelors in Commerce (Hons). But the new amendment in the university course, which insists on four-year under graduation programme (FYUP) rather than three, had created dilemmas in her head. She along with her other two friends, Abha and Renie, who also cleared their exams, had come to the campus seeking answers to their queries. 

While the politicians of the state have found it “potentially very positive”, the programme, which offers “flexibility” and “options” for students, has met with considerable criticism from academia and intellectuals, calling it “the biggest casualty of our times”. The topper from Jharkhand was also reported to have changed her mind of studying in DU after the FYUP proposal. 

Under FYUP, the students taking admission in Delhi University will enter a four-year honours degree. If they wish, they can leave at the end of two years with a Diploma or at the end of the three years with a Bachelors Degree (without honours). On the completion of four years, they will have a Bachelors Degree with honours. 

Further breakdown reveals that those students who obtain a two-year Diploma will study only 8 papers from their main discipline. The remaining 20 courses will be compulsory, basic foundation courses. These foundation courses include courses in science, mathematics, history, etc. All students, irrespective of the stream they come from, will have to study foundation courses over the first two years. 

Three years Bachelors Degree will have 14 main core courses and 28 non-core courses, while students of other universities will get a their bachelors with honours. Four year Bachelors Degree with honours will have 20 core courses out of 50 courses, while as earlier three year programme had 75 per cent core courses. 

“The aim of higher education is to make students understand the depth of the subject as well as to equip him/her with a degree to get a job. But the new course programme is focused on privatizing education. This is the biggest casualty,” said Tripta Wahi, retired professor, Hindu College. She said it was important to prepare the students intellectually, which can be done by rigorous academic pursuit. She also noted that the new course will undermine the lower strata of the society and called it as “anti- democratic, anti-people and anti-education programme.” 

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, St. Stephen's College slammed the concept of foundation courses. “What are these so-called foundation courses for? Students already have knowledge of basic things. They have learnt them in school. Why is university using authoritarian practices to enforce decision on 54,000 young students?” he asked. 

Calling FYUP a tool to make “brilliant minds dull”, Prof Rama Sinha of Sri Venkateswara College said it is a “robotic programme to force students not to think originally.”