The Executive Council of the University of Delhi (DU) on Friday adopted the Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF), formulated according to the National Education Policy (NEP), for the 2022-23 academic session. Three EC members disagreed with the implementation of UGCF, saying that the “concerns have been wiped out in the passage of this rushed, half-baked restructuring”.
The UGCF was adopted on Wednesday at the university’s Academic Council meeting, with 11 members disagreeing with its implementation. The UGCF includes two features of the NEP: the multidisciplinary approach and the multiple entry and exit scheme (MEES).
Under the MEES, students can graduate with a diploma at the end of an academic year. The concept offers a total of 176 credits. The students must complete a minimum of 50 percent credit in a discipline to complete a four-year undergraduate degree with a major in that discipline.
Ashok Agarwal, advocate for the DU EC, said the UGCF along with the Multiple Entry and Exit Scheme (MEES) and Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) regulations is a major overhaul.
“DU is known for its bachelor studies. Given the number of students and teachers involved in UG studies, it is important to proceed with caution and not to repeat the mistakes of the FYUP introduced in 2013. More than 70,000 students participate in UG courses every year.
“Serious concerns have been expressed about the negative impact on the quality of education and teaching. We pushed for wider consultation and feedback from legal authorities at departmental and college levels. It is a déja vu situation for DU – repeat of FYUP 2013 fiasco under construction,” he said.
The university has approved the implementation of the 2022-23 NEP and the four-year undergraduate program (FYUP).
EC member Seema Das said it would lead to privatization of education and job losses.
“The UGCF will lead to a reduction in teachers’ workload and will pave the way for a contractual model in the case of teachers,” she said.
The left-wing Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) accused the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) leadership of betraying the trust of students and teachers and alleged that elected members of the right-wing National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) became supporters of FYUP and NEP in legal bodies.
The DUTA coordination meeting held on February 7 before the meetings of the Academic Council and the Executive Council categorically rejected the proposed UGCF and decided to hold a DUTA protest on February 9 against “the anti-academic restructuring, including FYUP and ABC regulations,” according to the DTF.
“In a clear betrayal of the DUTA GBM resolutions against NEP and the decision of the DUTA coordination, the elected teacher representatives of NDTF did not disagree in the February 9 AC and February 11 EC. It is clear that the NDTF is willing to jeopardize the future of teachers and students to please their political masters,” they claimed.
The DTF said it now becomes a collective responsibility to build a movement with students and other parts of the democratic movement to ensure public higher education is not destroyed.
“We are calling on staff associations to hold meetings to discuss both the approved UGCF model and the draft IDP and NHEQF notified by the UGC on January 28. A united movement should move the struggle forward. Our future is at stake. We must fight and win,” the DTF said.
EC member and NDTF member VS Negi said the UGCF has been approved in DU EC with an assurance that no teacher will be moved if workload problem arises, adding that the university will talk to colleges about it.
“UGCF was approved today to include a few changes related to languages, sports and optional courses to have more flexibility and interdisciplinarity,” he told PTI.
Rudrashish Chakraborty, associate professor, Department of English, Kirori Mal College, said the UGCF is replacing the existing Ability Enhancement Compulsory Courses (AECC) with Ability Enhancement Courses (AEC).
“While the previous AECC courses included English/Hindi/MIL as languages to be taught to students, the proposed structure only determines AECs of the Indian languages according to the VIII scheme of the Indian Constitution, which does not include English. This means that English as a language has been scrapped as an AEC course, which will lead to a huge reduction in the workload for the English teachers,” he said.
Noting that students taking admission into Delhi University have studied English as a language up to class XII while most of them have studied Indian languages up to lower levels, he said that abolishing English as a language course in AEC is a great injustice for students.
The proposed UGCF has also removed English as a compulsory language from the course structure of its multidisciplinary programs, such as current BA/B.Com programs, he said.