With sheer frustration in his veins Delhi University VC, Prof. Dinesh Singh on Friday was forced to end the elongated FYUP mayhem. After an extensive academic battle of reasons and facts he lost it to the directive of UGC which demanded the revival of three years honors degree. According to the UGC, DU was short of a proper procedure while implementing its ambitious FYUP which was also against the National Policy on Education (10+2+3) as decided by the Parliament in 1986. But annoyance among the first batch of FYUP students who were explicitly treated as the laboratory rats is still widespread.
Building the FYUP consent; tale of Academic Fascism
A year ago, this so called ‘Revolutionary Format’ was designed and implemented by the VC’s own men. Within few months in secret caves the syllabus was compiled, the curriculum emerged and the website dictated that the FYUP was ready to rock. With majority of teachers completely ignored in these procedures the voice of dissent was rocketed. “Nothing can challenge FYUP” was the common rhetoric of VC and his team. This was a part of the attempts that were made to manufacture the consent in Delhi University. Administrations in most of the colleges behaved like the authoritarian army. Any critical comment against the FYUP became the reason for a principal to take the disciplinary action against students. With such an ideological exploitation, it was within this one year that the principals celebrated FYUP in order to earn token of funds and prestige from the VC. The rollback of FYUP was a blow to this despotic attitude. This tremor was necessary to uphold the liberation of the students and the teachers.
Rollback; Elimination of a Regressive Reform
Due to the involvement of fewer teachers, the course and curriculum produced for the FYUP came out to be a perfect misadventure. With Foundation courses textbooks filled with Class 7th and Class 8th syllabus students were pushed into an academic disaster which nobody was allowed to criticize. There were many other loopholes in this shining package of FYUP-
- Extra Cost of an Extra Year- Students under FYUP were forced to spend one extra year for their honors degree. This was a tough call for the students from outside Delhi (65% of DU students are from sub-urban and rural India) to stay and bear the cost of food and lodging for an extra year in the costly city like Delhi.
- Wastage of an attempt for Competitive examinations- An extra year spent in DU would have resulted in the wastage of one precious attempt of appearing in a competitive examination like that of Civil Services.
- Multiple Degree Options creating Social divide- creates ‘Multiple Degree’ Option was on its way to create and preserve the social inequality. Students who would have dropped out easily in the wake of their economic tragedy after 2 or 3 years would have got the useless diploma or bachelor’s degree. It would have served them with no job further in the competitive market and this would have continued their weak financial status.
- Lack of Specialized Knowledge- There was a lack of specialized education under FYUP. In 3YUP students study 24 major discipline subjects whereas in FYUP it was only 20. With specialization required in the cut-throat competitive market the rolled back FYUP would have produced fools and unemployed youth from of the university.
With the removal of FYUP, students are at least saved by these catastrophic situations.
VC and UGC; Role in Constructing the fiasco
But there are things left for us to be contemplated upon. We must question the role of UGC under the Congress regime when it was silent on the implementation of FYUP. It suddenly came like a savior when BJP (who had the ‘Rollback’ promise in its manifesto) acquired the power. If UGC would have roused a year ago then the present batch of FYUP students would have been saved from becoming rats for VC’s laboratory. All these students are now shifted to the 3YUP (with some modification). But is it fair as these students merely studied 4 subjects related to their major discipline in their first year! When FYUP was installed on political suggestions (of Sibbal and company) ignoring the DU’s autonomy then why VC was so worried when that same political class uninstalled it.
Need Reforms! But not the FYUP!
We cannot deny that the mode of education in Delhi University is still not as progressive as demanded by the epoch in which we live. But keeping in mind the socio-economic picture of the society, this FYUP was not the rational option. It was even more regressive not only for an individual student but also for the society as a whole. Some basic reforms needed in the University are-
- Shortage of able Teaching faculty- We have shortage of around 5,000 teachers in the colleges of DU. Not a single appointment had taken place since last 3 years.
- Lack of infrastructure- It is the major problem in most of the colleges. There is a dearth of classrooms and labs in the University which is ranked first in the nation.
- Absence of Strong Placement Cells- With an absence of a powerful Placement cell, things are not working for the students after their graduation or masters.
The point is to concentrate on reforms over these areas. FYUP won’t help!