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DU students SpeakOut: 'We were treated like puppets'

Last updated on: June 25, 2014 19:24 IST

DU students SpeakOut: 'We were treated like puppets'

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Divya Nair/Rediff.com

The decision of the University of Delhi to start a four-year undergraduate course has been vetoed by the University Grants Commission.

With Dinesh Singh resigning from his post as Delhi University’s vice chancellor as a consequence, and the Supreme Court refusing to intervene in the row between the University and the UGC, the future and careers of thousands of students who have already signed up for the four-year programme is at stake.

We spoke to some of the students to get their take on the controversy. 

Pritish Menon is a second-year student at Deshbandhu College which is affiliated to Delhi University.

He is one of the many victims of the university's four year undergraduate programme that was implemented last year.

Menon terms the one-year experience as "horrendous" and explains why.

Poor syllabus

"When the announcement of the four-year programme was made, I was very excited because it was a revolution of sorts in the existing education system.

"After the first few months I realised that the course was going nowhere."

"The curriculum for the foundation course was highly disappointing. The project work took up most of our time and we had very few teachers to help us cope with the course," Menon said.

Shubham Sundli, a political science student from Ramjas College said the foundation course was a waste of time.

"In the Information Technology class, we were taught how to open a Facebook account. In Mathematics, we were taught about Permanent Address Number - things that should have been part of the class 7 curriculum.

"What is the use of adding an extra year to learn things most of us already know?

"I'd rather spend an extra year doing post graduation in political science than do a trivial foundation course in IT and Maths," he said.

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ALSO READ: Will the new HRD minister scrap DU's four year programme?

Why DU's 4-year programme should not be implemented

All you need to know about DU's Four Year UG programme

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Image: Students from Delhi University demand the rollback of the four year undergraduate programme.
Photographs: Courtesy All India Students Association's Facebook page

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'It was a carefully planned money minting exercise'

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Faculty divided on the issue

The University’s professors were divided about the wisdom of the four-year course and this affected the students.

"Students would attend lectures for the sake of attendance. Teachers were punctual only for the first few weeks.

"Towards the end of last year, some teachers lost interest and stopped coming to college, while some teachers protested against the programme and asked us to join in as well. We were treated like puppets," says Ajay Sharma of Deshbandhu College.

Political implications

According to the All India Students Association (AISA) there was a political motive behind the decision to extend the course to four years.

"It was through AISA that we came to know of the political implications and the beneficiaries of the FYUP," said Shubam Sundli of Ramjas College.

"The decision, we were told was meant to encourage privatisation of education and promote coaching centres.

"But more than anything else, it was a carefully planned money minting exercise -- an extra year of education would help fill the government's pockets -- at the cost of our future.”

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Image: Students from Delhi University hold placards to explain
Photographs: Courtesy All India Students Association's Facebook page

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'Dinesh Singh (the vice chancellor) is the villain here'

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Lenient grading

The only incentive for students was that the grading process was lenient.

"We scored 54 on 55 in the internal assessment, which was quite unexpected," says Pritish Menon of Deshbandhu.

He adds that the lenient grading diluted the purpose of both the degree and education.

Shubham Sundli said he scored 52 out of 55 in IT with zero college attendance.

Lack of vision and leadership

Another twenty-year-old from Ramjas College (who requested anonymity) has a different take on the controversy.

He says the FYUP was a very progressive decision, but it was hastily implemented and thus failed to achieve its purpose.

"Teachers and authorities at the university should have asked for more time to consider its implementation before imposing it on students.

"Dinesh Singh (the vice chancellor) is the villain here. Not only did he refuse to hear our pleas through the year, but by resigning at such a crucial juncture, he has added to the problems of both existing and new students who are now clueless about what to do next.

"The HRD ministry, the vice chancellor and the Supreme Court have already betrayed us by leaving it to the university authorities to decide what's best for us," he said.

What do you make of the University of Delhi vs UGC tussle over the Four Year Undergraduate Programme?

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Image: Students feel that implementing the FYUP was a politically motivated decision.
Photographs: Courtesy All India Students Association's Facebook page

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'No one is willing to give me an answer'

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The fate of first-year students

Akshay Saxena who recently cleared his class 12 with 83 per cent from Adarsh Jain School in Delhi is among thousands of students who are awaiting admission to college as admissions have been put on hold.

"I'd called up a few colleges to find out when the admission for first year will start but no one is willing to give me an answer.

"Some people I met at Hansraj College and Kirori Mal College told me to wait for a few days because they haven't got orders from higher authorities to issue admission to first year students.

"I would prefer a three-year honours course as against the existing three-year bachelors and four-year honours course, but right now, I'm just waiting for someone to give us the final verdict," Saxena said.

What do you make of the University of Delhi vs UGC tussle over the Four Year Undergraduate Programme?

Whose side are you on?

Make your voice heard!


Image: Admissions to undergraduate courses have been put on hold.
Photographs: Courtesy All India Students Association's Facebook page

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