What is the DU-UGC stand-off over 4-year course? All you need to know
But what is the stand off all about, and what are its implications on the current admissions process? Here is all the information you need to know:
The standoff between Delhi University (DU) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) came to a head on Sunday, with the UGC ordering DU to abandon its controversial four-year honours programme, failing which it threatened action under the UGC Act. The university has also been directed to report compliance by forenoon on Monday "without fail".
The university had ignored a similar directive from the UGC on Friday, choosing instead to ask the governing body to reconsider its stand. DU's Academic Council passed a resolution saying students seeking admission to undergraduate programmes would be admitted in the three-year Bachelor's Programme (B.A/B.SC/B.Com) in their Discipline 1 (major subject) and would graduate with the corresponding degree in three years, in conformity with the National Policy on Education that recommends a 10+2+3 format. (Those opting for the honours programme would have to do the fourth year.)
The Delhi University VC Dinesh Singh is reportedly said to be meeting with principals of constituent colleges in a bid to garner support for the measure. However the latest news coming in is that the HRD Ministry has said that it will not interfere in the issue, and that the UGC decision will remain supreme.
But what is the stand-off all about, and what are its implications on the current admissions process? Here is all the information you need to know:
* The four year programme was introduced by Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh one year ago. In a note on the DU website, Singh said that the prevalent three-year course needed to be re-engineered:
"For instance, students were not easily being selected for jobs, the curriculum was not necessarily placing them in touch with real life issues. I am sure with these changes you will derive greater benefit. The new programme gives the student a strong education and worldly competence through Foundation Courses, and a wide range of subject choices for specialisation, backed by skill based, applied courses. Moreover, a student can select 'minor' areas of interest, find time for sports and cultural activities, and learn how to undertake projects and research."
* The FYUP, which was part of former HRD minister Kapil Sibal's aggressive reform agenda for higher education in India, was widely criticised for the hurried manner in which it was pushed through by the Delhi University (DU) vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, despite widespread opposition from students and teachers.
* Teachers across colleges say they were not consulted about the new plans or given enough time to redesign the courses. In fact the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) along with several student organisations such as NSUI, ABVP, AIDSO, AISA, AISF, CYSS, DSU, INSO, KYS, NEFIS, PACHHAS, SFI and SYS have been demanding immediate roll back of the FYUP and the VC's resignation. Both BJP and AAP had promised to scrap the programme as part of its election manifestoes.
* Keen to deliver on BJP’s election promise to roll back the four year DU programme, HRD minister Smriti Irani is reported to have told a delegation of DU teachers and students who met her on 30 May that she would hold “widespread consultation at all levels” on the issue. She has since met other delegations, also demanding scrapping the FYUP, led by BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF).
* About 60,000 students are studying under FYUP, and DU is to begin admissions on Tuesday for approximately 55,000 seats. Following the directive from the UGC, St. Stephen's College has said it will defer final admissions to the course till a decision is taken by the competent authority.
* To ensure that students admitted to the four-year programme in 2013-14 session are not placed at a disadvantage, UGC has constituted a standing committee to advise Delhi University for migrating from the FYUP to the three-year undergraduate programme, reports the Economic Times:
The regulator has asked DU and its colleges to make "appropriate arrangements" to help these students migrate to a three-year undergraduate programme structure "so that they do not lose an academic year for obtaining undergraduate degrees and ensure that students acquire necessary academic and other competence during the next two academic years."
* The ET report added that UGC has issued a public notice, reaching out particularly to students and parents, stating that DU and its colleges will not be admitting students for a four year programme and that all admissions will be to the three-year undergraduate programmes.
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