Continuous academic restructuring – first semesterisation, then implementation of Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) and now decision to implement Choice Based Credit System has rendered Delhi University unstable. Like semesterisation and FYUP, the CBCS is being implemented at Delhi University in a hurried and top-down manner and without any preparation.
The UGC and the MHRD have directed universities across India to implement CBCS from the academic session 2015-16. Though the UGC and the MHRD organized meetings with Vice Chancellors for the implementation of this systemic change, no efforts were made to include teachers who shape reforms in class rooms and labs. Further, while the UGC documents hammer “seamless mobility” as the most important goal it intends to achieve through this restructuring, it is completely silent on the crucial issues of quality, equity and expansion. The CBCS has already received much criticism from eminent educators, teachers and concerned citizens for its intent, content and manner of implementation. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association and many other teachers’ associations have voiced their opposition.
Many universities adopted semester system and CBCS starting from 2009. The UGC has made no effort to collect feedback on these academic restructuring from teachers and students and from universities/colleges through their statutory bodies before taking the “reform” further. In fact, the feedback on semester system and CBCS available in the public domain has been completely ignored. Teachers and students are speaking against semesterization due to their experiences. Universities and colleges of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Haryana, and Delhi University, have shared their experiences of semester system. Semester system has reduced teaching time, over-burdened universities and colleges with examination work, reduced time for in-depth and self-study, and failed to provide a structure that caters to need of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and varied schooling. Universities of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have also shared their similar experiences of CBCS.
Save DU started its public contact programme to draw attention towards the crises in Delhi University. Without any deliberations and preparedness, the Choice Based Credit System is being implemented from the academic session 2015-16. As part of its public contact programme, Save DU has launched a signature campaign addressed to Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister HRD amongst students, parents and concerned citizens. The text of the signature campaign reads as:
“The admission process in Delhi University has started without any clarity on the courses. According to press reports, DU has decided to implement the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) from July 2015 without any discussion or preparation since they have been directed to do so by the MHRD and UGC. Syllabi for most subjects are still not ready. The syllabi on the UGC website are ‘cut and paste’ of the low quality FYUP courses. We are extremely worried that this will adversely affect the careers of 60,000 students who will be admitted to DU this year. We appeal to you therefore to stop the hasty implementation of CBCS from this year.”
Save DU activists distributed leaflets at Delhi University Metro Station on Friday, 5 June and addressed students and parents in small groups. The campaign received huge support from students seeking admissions who feel lost as there is no clarity on the course structure and content and examination scheme. Many DU applicants shared their experiences with recent “reforms” in school which have diluted academic standards. Over 500 signatures were collected on the very first day.
Save DU will continue to take its signature campaign to students seeking admissions and their parents. The signature campaign will also be done amongst students of other universities in the city including JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia. As part of the public contact programme, Save DU will hold a public campaign at Rajeev Chownk Metro Station, A Block on 8 June and at India Gate on 12 June from 5 pm to 7 pm.