Published: 06th August 2022
Will Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) change how industry sees dropouts? Plus, other pros & cons raised by profs, students
Professors and students share their thoughts on FYUP which is going to be implemented this academic year onwards. They highlight a few issues along with plus points
Despite several protests, the Academic Council of Delhi University approved the Four-Year Undergraduate Programmes (FYUP) on August 3, Wednesday. FYUP is based on the newly introduced Under Graduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF).
The FYUP will be implemented once it is approved by the Delhi University's Executive Council (EC) which is expected to meet on August 18.
FYUP brings a change in the structure of the academic curriculum with new courses which are segregated into minor subjects and major subjects under Discipline I and Discipline II. Namely, BA (Hons) in Business Economics, BA (Hons) Multi-Media and Mass Communication, BSc in Electronic Science and BSc (Hons) in Microbiology and so on are introduced. Additionally foundational and several Skill Enhancement Courses (SECs) are also introduced.
Back out, drop out, pass out
FYUP has one novel provision that offers students the chance to back out from their course during any year. If they drop out after their first year, students receive a certificate; dropping out in the second year leads to the student gaining a diploma; when they back out in their third year they get honours in the disciple and if they complete the course, they receive honours in the discipline with research.
But, will the industry perception change towards these "dropout" students and they will start looking at these students as certificate/diploma/degree-
Professor of Physics at Miranda House, Prof Abha Dev Habib raises this question along with multiple others. She opines that the job market will consider the one-year/two-year passouts as dropouts. This will bring down the value of undergraduates in the job market.
This brings along a host of other issues too, the professor feels. For example, while preparing the syllabus, Habib points out, "On what basis does the syllabi need to be framed? Should one keep in mind that students will back off after one year or think about framing a constructive programme for four years?"
Additionally, the students' time is fragmented and they are choosing many courses with less time and credit points. Other than placing an additional burden on parents and students, Prof Habib questions, "By following FYUP, is any student gaining anything substantially?"
So, what is the solution? She stressed that if a new curriculum is being implemented, then a survey must be conducted on the availability of infrastructural facilities, funds and the availability of teachers in the Central and State universities. But that didn't happen. Moreover, if there is a possibility to expand the degree education, then a three-year programme should be given to anyone rather than extending one more year, that is, the fourth year into the existing lot, she added.
The bright side
When asked about FYUP, President of DUTA (Delhi University Teachers' Association) Ajay Kumar Bhagi shared that most of their concerns were addressed by DU's Vice-Chancellor, Yogesh Singh. For example, when concerns to increase the credits points and losing teachers were raised, the Vice-Chancellor said that the credit scores will be increased from 120 to 132 and they were assured that no one will be removed from their post.
Highlighting the benefits of FYUP, the Assistant Professor of Satyawati College (Evening), Delhi, Manoj Kumar said, "The course content will be framed based on the market demand and International demands." Citing this he said, with FYUP it will be easy for students to get admission to any foreign university." Further, he also notes, "The implications will be identified only after implementing," he added.
What do the students have to say?
A second-year undergraduate student from Kamala Nehru College, Delhi, on the condition of anonymity, says, "Initially, I was happy and delighted when I heard about the implementation of FYUP because I am planning to study abroad, preferably in Europe." But, later she realised, "Rather than focusing on FYUP, the focus should be on strengthening the universities, their infrastructure and so on."
Similarly, a second-year undergraduate student, Ridhi B, shares, "I feel very unsure about such policies because they take such a long time to implement and even after years, half the people, both students and management, have no clarity."
Ridhi also says, "Instead of improving the system which is in place already, why are we focusing on newer policies which will clearly increase the dropout rate?" She questions, "As there will be an option to select whether you want a three-year or a four-year degree, will both the categories be treated the same?"
On the contrary, another student pursuing her first-year BA in Journalism (Honours), Hridya Madhav, says, "Implementing FYUP is a good decision. Many International colleges prefer a four-year UG programme. So, a four-year UG programme will also help in understanding the course full-fledgedly."