The Executive Council of the University of Delhi (DU) on Friday passed the Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF), formulated according to the National Education Policy (NEP), for the 2022-23 academic session. Three EC members dissented against UGCF’s implementation, saying the “concerns have been brushed aside in passing this hurried, half-baked restructuring”.
The UGCF was passed at the Academic Council meeting of the university on Wednesday, with 11 members dissenting against its implementation there. The UGCF includes two features of the NEP — the multidisciplinary approach and the multiple entry and exit scheme (MEES).
Under the MEES, students can exit at the end of an academic year with a degree. The draft offers a total of 176 credits. The students need to earn a minimum of 50 per cent credits in a discipline to get a four-year undergraduate degree with a major in that discipline.
DU EC member advocate Ashok Agarwal said the UGCF along with Multiple Entry and Exit Scheme (MEES) and Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) Regulations is a major overhauling.
“DU is known for its undergraduate studies. Given the number of students and teachers involved in UG studies, it is important to tread with caution and not repeat the mistakes of the FYUP implemented in 2013. Over 70,000 students take admission every year in UG courses.
“Serious concerns were raised about adverse impact on the quality of education and teaching jobs. We urged for a wider consultation and feedback from statutory bodies at the department and college levels. It is a deja vu situation for DU – repeat of FYUP 2013 fiasco in making,” he said.
The university has approved the implementation of the NEP from 2022-23 and the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP).
EC member Seema Das said that it would lead to privatisation of education and job losses.
“The UGCF leads to reduction on workload of teachers and will pave the way for contractualisation model in the case of teachers,” she said.
The left-backed 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 from the right wing National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) become supporters of FYUP and NEP in statutory bodies.
The DUTA Coordination meeting held on February 7 for the Academic Council and Executive Council meetings 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”, the DTF said.
“In a clear betrayal of the DUTA GBM resolutions against NEP and the decision of the DUTA Coordination, the elected teachers’ representatives from NDTF did not dissent in the AC of February 9 and EC of February 11. It is clear that the NDTF is willing to jeopardize the future of teachers and students in order to please their political masters,” they alleged.
The DTF said that it now becomes a collective responsibility to build a movement along with students and other segments of the democratic movement to ensure that public higher education is not destroyed.
“We appeal to Staff Associations to hold meetings to discuss both the UGCF model passed and the draft IDP and NHEQF notified by the UGC on January 28. A united movement should take the struggle forward. Our future is at stake. We must fight and prevail,” said the DTF.
EC member and NDTF member VS Negi said the UGCF has been approved in DU EC with the assurance that no teacher will be displaced if any workload issue arises and added that university will talk to colleges in this regard.
“UGCF has been approved today by incorporating a few changes with regards 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 replaces the existing Ability Enhancement Compulsory Courses (AECC) with Ability Enhancement Courses (AEC).
“Whereas the earlier AECC courses included English/Hindi/MIL as languages to be offered to students, the proposed structure stipulates AECs only from the Indian languages as per the VIII Schedule of the Indian Constitution which does not include English. This implies that English as a language has been removed as an AEC course which will lead to massive reduction of workload for the English teachers,” he said.
Noting that students who take admission to the University of Delhi have studied English as a language till Class XII whereas most have studied Indian languages till lower levels, he said that to do away with English as a language course in AEC is a gross injustice to students.
The proposed UGCF has also removed English as a compulsory language from the course structure of the Multidisciplinary Programmes like the current BA/B.Com Programmes, he said.