Days after the change in government at the Centre and an escalating protest against Delhi University’s Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) by BJP’s student wing ABVP, the apex higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) Friday took a U-turn and decided to “review” the varsity’s move made one year ago.
The move to review FYUP comes when admission season is just set to open at the Delhi University.
At a meeting of the UGC in New Delhi today, it was decided that Delhi University be asked to review the implementation of the FYUP. Sources said that it was argued at the UGC meeting that FYUP violates the national policy of education that mandates a 10+2+3 format, that the change was not effected through an amendment to the Universities Act, that it did not come by through the Visitor’s approval — the President of India is the Visitor to all Central Universities — and that it was basically illegal.
While the Delhi BJP had in its manifesto called for scrapping the FYUP, a rollback of an academic programme in an autonomous central university is no easy task and will involve consultations with all academic bodies with the University.
The UGC move, however, is a major shot in the arm for the critics Said to have the support of HRD Minister Smriti Irani who has maintained that student interest will be protected, the UGC-ordered review also finds strength from the recommendation made by the S K Joshi committee recently.
Recently, the Joshi Committee, set up by UGC last year amid protests against the Delhi University’s decision to bring in the FYUP, said that the issue needs to be thoroughly and comprehensively reviewed by a different committee so that other universities mulling a similar change may be forewarned or better prepared. Based on the responses it got from DU, the Joshi committee had also felt that the issue had not been deliberated upon well enough.
The review is a big setback to DU Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh who had pushed through the new academic programme amid strong resistance from large sections of the teaching community. Singh positioned FYUP as a switch to a modern higher education format that is in tune with global higher education formats and facilitates greater reform through student mobility, inter varsity credit transfer and semester system.
Singh and UGC Chairman Ved Prakash did not respond to calls or messages.
While Singh pushed through the FYUP getting support of the HRD ministry under two successive ministers Kapil Sibal and Pallam Raju, what has come into question is the role of the UGC.
The UGC last year supported the VC and the FYUP to the hilt saying that as per the Kothari Commission report, the duration of a programme may vary from varsity to continued…
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