Outside the School of Open Learning at Delhi University Thursday, a handful of undergraduate students sit with placards protesting against the decision to introduce the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) for them this year. So far, courses under the distance learning programme were being offered under the annual examination mode.
Inside the Centre, teachers and administrative staff deal with the mammoth challenge of implementing the change from the old annual mode to CBCS under the semester mode. Regular colleges and departments in the university made the change three years ago.
Earlier this year, DU approved the proposal to bring SOL on par with courses offered in regular colleges. But when students started getting printed course material before the start of the session, they found it was the text taught in the annual mode. “New study material is yet to be prepared based on CBCS format and SOL is busy distributing the old study material. A cursory look at the two syllabi formats, i.e. annual and CBCS, would be enough to see that the two curricula are starkly different,” said Harish Gautam, member of the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan.
SOL officer on special duty Ramesh Bharadwaj said: “If we look at the syllabus in most courses, it is up to 70% similar. We have been working on providing students with updated material on their online dashboard by the end of this month. The session and personal contact classes start on September 1. Challenges in shifting to the semester mode in a few months exist but we are working to overcome them.”
Students have highlighted the frequency of exams in the annual mode.“Many people join the correspondence mode because they work while studying. For people like us, writing two sets of exam in one year is going to be problematic,” said Shalini Sharma, who took admission in BA (Honours) English this year.
SOL, however, had no way out. According to the new central rules, one university cannot function in two separate modes. “If we had not made the change, the SOL degree would not have been recognised. We can’t do that to our students,” said Bharadwaj.