Why should any student devote four years for an honors degree, which can otherwise be earned in three years? Or, shouldn’t the education system of India be allowed to match steps with global standards when it is evident that the current structure is not yielding the desired outcomes? Two questions can be answered separately, can be justified separately; however the conclusion can allow the survival of only one proposition. Which part should I favor; or rather which part should the country and the upcoming generation favor? The conclusion has to be reached via proper analysis, which hereunder has been attempted.
DU’s Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) came into actuality last year when many students were enrolled for the same. The policy-makers of the University justify the FYUP on the grounds that many developed nations follow the same structure, which would set the foundation for the initial two years, post which the degree can be earned. The foremost evaluation appears justifiable; however when we are talking of developed nations, let us also note that India is a developing one. Moreover, our 10+2 education format sets the foundation for specialization, hence further two years of foundation is somewhat mystifying.
The Universities Grants Commission (UGC), which funds universities and works to coordinate college education standards and policies, post allowing the implementation of the FYUP last year, has now taken a step backwards asking the DU to repeal the programme with immediate effect. Shall we not ask UGC the cause of this delay? And was it that tough for the commission to comprehend that the programme violates the nation-wide education standards? Was this government agency so frozen during the UPA-regime that none of the officials could even utter a word then? And you have woken up when thousands of students are seeking admission.
It is quite true that the Delhi University’s planning board must have anticipated the bottlenecks of the prevailing graduate programme; however the answer could have been dissimilar to FYUP. Can they justify why should a student wait for four years for applying for a post-graduate programme or for that matter for work prospects when others have the opportunity to do the same after three years? Shocking to note, even the amendments in the Ordinances that were undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor and the former education minister, Mr. Kapil Sibbal are not in accordance with the set guidelines- Approval from the President of India is missing.
And when you were so concerned about the stakeholders (students and teachers), at least a round of discussion could had been resorted to prior to concluding the implementation of the much-criticized FYUP. As a key turning point, 57 out of 64 colleges of the University have now accorded support to the UGC’s view, hence under all circumstances the FYUP’s voyage seems to sink in the near future. Vital to note in the same context is that when countries like Japan had to rethink for years prior to changing their education system to programmes like FYUP, the Delhi University reached the conclusion in just a few months.
Leave apart all the politics that revolves around the students’ unions, the Ministries, and the University; rather give a fair view to the future of those who risk years to ensure stable and prosperous tomorrow- the students. Questions until the end would remain as to why should anyone invest four years for an honors degree, why spend two more years for foundation when the same was attained during school days, and who stands responsible for such mishaps? The HRD Ministry will now have to rethink the prevailing procedures and will need to send across a clear message that such unwarrantable positions would not be tolerable in the coming years.
Lastly, the Universities Grants Commission will too have to make sure that any educational reforms are in line with the real needs of the country and shall be implemented throughout the colleges with utmost uniformity. None of the universities shall has the sole power to decide upon abrupt changes in the structure, which in case if not prevented in the current scenario, will bring in even more complications in the future. The obdurate views, be it of the VC of a renowned university and of the minister of HRD, shall not surpass the boundaries and laid down procedures. Any and every such change must for sure fetch absolute approval of UGC.