Be prepared for more protests in Delhi University. The four-year undergraduate programme, which faced stiff opposition from DU students and faculty during its implementation, has come in for fresh criticism now because of its “irrelevant” content.
“The content of the foundation course is laughable. A student who is studying political science and history has to study mathematical ability of Class X level and a B.Tech in computer science has to study information technology. This is so irrelevant,” says Manu Kataria, professor, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences.
The fresh protests have been triggered by one of the compulsory (non-credit) courses in the curriculum, titled ‘Integrating Mind, Body and Heart (IMBH)’. The objective of IMBH is “to instil principles of non-violence and truth in each student through creating awareness about Mahatma Gandhi’s practice of these beliefs in his own life.” The course was to was to be “practice-oriented” to “kindle a value oriented and holistic thought process in the consciousness of students that will lead them to a better realization of the fact that there should be harmony between what one thinks, what one feels and what one creates or presents externally.”
In shocking disclosures by the university faculty, positive thoughts such as ‘A little bird in the sky drops its waste in your eye/ You don’t mind and you don’t cry/ You just thank God that cows can’t fly,’ must be written down and read aloud in class.
In the foundation course on English called ‘Literature, Language and Creativity’ questions such as “What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city? Did you grow up in a small town or city? Mark the location of your hometown on the map are to be read aloud in class.
On August 14 this year, DU vice chancellor Dinesh Singh convened a meeting of teachers and heads of departments of foundation courses. He had received several complaints about the foundation courses being “elementary in nature” and a “mere repetition of what the students had read in school,” from various faculties and student bodies. Sources say while Singh spoke for over an hour, teachers were given just 10 minutes to speak. Interestingly, those who did speak were not critical of the programme and not a single teacher who was critical of it, was allowed to speak.
JM Khurana, Dean Students’ Welfare, termed the convention a “grand success”. “As far as the issue of the content being ‘childish’ is concerned, teachers and students also need to know the basics to understand complex issues,” Khurana said.
While members of the Delhi University Teachers Association largely boycotted the convention, students are also preparing to launch a protest against FYUP. Members of All India Students Association (AISA), along with Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), All India Democratic Students’ Organization (AIDSO) and All India Students Federation (AISF) had gathered a crowd of 70-odd students to voice their concerns during the convention.
“We are organizing a referendum on South and North campus on August 22 and will ask students to vote for or against FYUP. The result will be declared the same day,” an AISA member said.
While DU continues to simmer with anger against the new programme, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, is set to follow in DU’s footsteps and adopt the same format starting September 2014.
Dr C Rajkumar, vice chancellor, OP Jindal Global University, said, “We have begun this process. The university has established the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities which will offer an undergraduate programme to allow students obtain dual degrees from India and US. Admissions for the programme will begin in September this year.”