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Representation to the President: Review FYUP in Delhi University
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Representation to the President: Review FYUP in Delhi University

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Text of Representation given to the Visitor Of Delhi University, the President of India, on May 14, 2013 by the Joint Action Front for Democratic Education

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To
Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Visitor, University of Delhi & President of India
Rashtrapathi Bhavan
New Delhi.

May 14, 2013

The 4-Year Degree at Delhi University: Request to institute a Visitorial inquiry u/S. (7)(A)(2) of the Delhi University Act of 1922

Sir,

The move to add one more year to the undergraduate degree programme at Delhi University is going to make higher education inaccessible and beyond the reach of large masses, especially the socially and economically backward classes (SCs, STs, and OBCs), women and persons with disabilities. The policy of Reservation in education, which is mandated by the Constitution of India, will be thwarted and made nugatory if students from these categories cannot complete their education due to the addition of an extra year, which is the most likely fallout of the proposed change.

The autonomy of the University does not give it the power to flout the national education policy of 10+2+3. The decision to make a major change in the structure that is going to affect the fate of hundreds of thousands of students over the coming years has to be made only after there has been a policy decision taken by the appropriate bodies of the Government in consultation with the civil society. Such a decision cannot be left to the wisdom of a Vice-Chancellor of a university and a handful of professors and officials who are under his direct control and supervision. The mandate of a public funded university cannot be above the will of the public at large. Moreover, the unanimous rejection of the four year programme by the General Body of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association shows that the proposed changes do not have the approval of the teaching community at large.

The burden on the students in terms of the financial implication and the difficulty of having to study Honours Courses right from the First year at the University will make it difficult for students from the marginalized and weaker sections to survive in the new system. The predictable outcome is that a large number of such students will not complete the four-year degree, and may exit at the end of the second or the third year. Since the Diploma (awarded after two years) or the Degree (awarded after three years) will not have the same weightage as the Honours Degree (awarded after four years), the new system will further cement the social inequality in our society as the certificate given after two or three years will be of less value and they will remain unequal. Thus, the University is replacing the existing system of Honours and Pass Courses (which was at least equitable)with an even more unequal system of multiple degrees and diplomas. Even the claims about the Diploma or the Foundation Courses increasing the chances of getting employment are unsubstantiated. It is also alarming that the framers of this programme, instead of initiating policy changes and devising strategies to retain students in the University, are institutionalizing the undesirable phenomenon of drop out.

Sir, a system that does not take into consideration the plurality and diversity of our nation and its varied needs and potentials can neither survive nor be useful to a highly stratified and diverse society like ours. It is apparent on its face that the proposed programme, which forces a set of eleven Foundation Courses from wide-ranging disciplines, does not keep in mind this fundamental aspect of our society. Mathematics has to be studied by all. Similarly, students will have to study a Course in Hindi if they have studied Hindi till 8th (which affects a large number of students coming from North East states like Sikkim). No language from the North East other than Manipuri is offered as Modern Indian Language in Delhi University. This causes a lot of disadvantage to thousands of students from the North East who come to Delhi in pursuit of higher education.

In the light of the growing skepticism about the four-year programme and the unseemly haste that the University authorities are showing by trying to fast track the process, we consider that the situation calls for an intervention by you as the Visitor of Delhi University. Sir, we request you exercise the power vested in you under Section (7), Clause (A) (2) of the Delhi University Act, 1922 (VIII of 1922) and institute an external inquiry committee comprising eminent academicians, educationalists, and prominent members of the civil society to review the advisability and feasibility of the four-year programme comprehensively assessing all the above aspects and their implications and, if necessary, to reconsider its implementation.

We also request you to withhold the commencement of the four-year programme, pending such an inquiry. Sir, we hope you will take immediate action and prevent chaos and damage to generations of students who will be seeking admission to the University in the coming years.

(S/d)

Dr. Udit Raj,

Dr. Hany Babu

with Sukumar Narayana, Kedar Kumar Mandal, Anoop Patel, Lenin Vinober, Vijaya Venkataraman, G. Naga Saibaba and Kaushal Panwar at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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