Updated: January 25, 2022 2:35:25 pm
The Delhi University (DU) on Friday released a draft Undergraduate Curriculum Framework 22 (UGCF-2022) keeping in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) and has invited feedback on it from stakeholders till January 30. The new UG curriculum will come into force from next year when the university shifts to a four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP).
What is the new UGCF-2022?
The UGCF provides the curriculum framework that will be adopted in the 2022-23 academic session when DU shifts to an FYUP. This, however, does not include the syllabi for courses, which is prepared independently. The objective of the UGCF is to “align with the NEP” so as “to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres”, “provide flexibility to students so that learners have the ability to choose their learning trajectories and programmes”, “eliminate harmful hierarchies among disciplines/fields of study and silos between different areas of learning”, among others. The UGCF is an attempt to include two of the most talked about features of the NEP – multi-disciplinarity and multiple exit points (leaving the course at the end of each year with a different degree).
The new draft has a total of 176 credits on offer. The number of credits is determined by the study load. To clear a semester, students need a certain number of credits which are determined by the importance of the course and the teaching-learning hours that are put into it. As per the new framework, to get a four-year UG degree with a major in a specific discipline, students need to get a minimum of 50% of credits (88) in that discipline.
Students who complete the FYUP in more than one discipline – like what the erstwhile programme courses were – will need to earn 80 credits in a specific discipline to get an Honours degree with a major in that discipline. So if a BA (Hons) Social Science student wants a major in Political Science, they will have to earn 80 credits in Political Science along with writing a dissertation in that specific subject.
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Students can also get a Minor in a specific discipline by earning 28 credits. Further, the UGCF-2022 has provision for “internship / apprenticeship/ project/ community outreach right from the III semester up to VI semester” which “provides ample opportunity to the students to explore areas of knowledge / activity beyond the four walls of the classroom”.
As of now, DU follows the Choice Based Credit System, according to which there are a total of 148 credits for a three-year Honours programme, and 132 credits for a Programme course – which is a course in which a combination of subjects is taught, as opposed to the focus being on one main subject in Honours courses. For example, a BA Programme in Economics & History.
The new UGCF draft put forth by the DU for suggestions is not the first such draft. In fact, it is the fourth. There is no clarity on why the university put forth multiple drafts, or whether there will be more. Earlier drafts varied greatly on the total credit points that were to be offered. The original draft which was presented in and approved by the Academic Council (AC) and Executive Council (EC) last year had a total of 196 credits. The original draft also had an Ability Enhancement Compulsory Course (AECC) – which are usually language courses like English or Modern Indian Languages. They also include Environmental Science and Sustainable Development.
However, in December last year, the DU sent two other drafts to colleges and departments with a total of 184 and 164 credits, respectively. Additionally, there was no provision for Programme courses, and the AECC nomenclature was changed to Ability Enhancement Course (AEC), taking away its compulsory nature. The two drafts were met with criticism over reduction of workload among other things.
What are the apprehensions regarding UGCF-2022?
Teachers have pointed out, first and foremost, that the new draft has reduced credits from 196 to 176 now, which would mean a reduction in teaching hours. This, they say, will affect workload and since ad hoc and guest teacher appointments are done on the basis of workload, it could lead to job loss for these sections. They’ve also argued that reduction in teaching hours would lead to “dilution” of these courses.
Democratic Teachers’ Front secretary Abha Dev Habib also said, “The latest model reduces weightage in terms of number of hours and hence, credits, dedicated towards Discipline Specific Core (DSC), Discipline Specific Electives (DSE) and Generic Elective (GE) from six (as in the current 3-year programme or the other models of FYUP) to four. This dilution is not acceptable.”
Rajesh Jha from Academics for Action & Development said the draft had “massively impacted the workload of all departments, particularly in sciences courses and GE courses” and even the number of lectures on Environmental Sciences had also been reduced to two classes per week from four lectures.
The DU Teachers’ Association will soon hold a DUTA executive meeting to examine the draft curriculum framework and formulate their response to it.
How has the university responded to the criticism?
DU Registrar Vikas Gupta has brushed aside the allegations saying that there would be no reduction in workload or dilution in courses. “After the structure was initially passed, there were some grievances from some members, so those were incorporated, and on the basis of that the structure has only been sent so far for feedback,” he said.
“As far as workload is concerned, that is determined by student-teacher ratio. UGC sanctions posts depending on that. So nobody will lose jobs. There is also no truth to the allegation that course quality will get diluted. Where there were earlier two courses with six credits each, we have simply made them three courses with four credits each,” he said.
Is this the final structure of the FYUP to be implemented next year?
While it is the first time the DU has officially put out a UGCF for feedback on its website, unlike the previous times it wouldn’t be prudent to assume that this is the final structure, as of now. The current structure is likely to come under heavier criticism and could see protests from teachers in the coming days. The UGCF-2022, even if adopted without any changes, will have to go to the AC and the EC – the statutory bodies of the university – for final approval. Even according to the DU Registrar, “This is an ever-evolving process, and we will keep making changes as and when it’s necessary.”
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