Friday, June 6, 2014

The FYUP Scam

As  members of  a College Academic Planning Committee we were responsible for charting out the devolution of the four year plan in its second year. The number of roadblocks we encountered must be put down  in order to draw attention to the utterly student unfriendly educational program that  the University Administration has brazenly conjured up.
 Some known facts; the much touted Discipline I courses across the university have been diluted and mutilated.  Mindless foundation courses , compulsory in nature, with no seeming direction have been cobbled for students.  The same goes for the more ambitious  application courses, where student attendance and participation has been minimized in its entirety.

 Sitting with five students to hear their presentation  in a makeshift classroom , a teacher  of foundation or Application courses can easily feel akin to a tattoo artist or some such skilled technician. The rest of the class don't want to hear their batch mates because they have other presentations to make and assignments to submit.  The VC's grandiloquent statements on the irrelevance of classroom teaching  have borne fruit through the ghastly courses that have been  put in place.

The course content is so gossamer and the learning so slight  that students feel they might as well as do other things with their time. Handing out excellence awards for innovative teaching of these courses is not going to improve them. After discrediting serious academics  and deriding classroom teaching as pedagogically flawed methodology, the university administration  has set out to ensure that students are academically damned  from their third semester altogether.

 Take for instance 125 students opting for Commerce as Discipline I. all of  whom opt for economics as Discipline II  in their third semester , which is when Discipline II courses are scheduled. If other students in college also ask for economics which is a popular subject, the  numbers can easily go up to 240 students. In this scenario, what can individual departments do? The Economics Department will have to run five sections. while other Departments will fall by the wayside as demand and supply chains meet.
 Alarmed  at this possibility, the Specially Empowered Group at DU handed every Principal a magic wand. " Go forth," they commanded, " Subject Options and availability are the prerogative of the college, and students will have the choice of complying with allotted courses."
 So with a wave of the magic wand student option forms were created.  Complementing the spirit of compulsory foundation courses, students were asked to fill up five  Discipline II options. in order  of preference.
 These were to be calibrated and then based on a merit list, some students would get their subject of choice, others would be miserable, but possibly no department would die out because down to the last unwilling student, each department would have the required minimum.
 While this will all be mathematically worked out, students need to pay attention to  the charade that is being staged before their very eyes. They need to understand that  no real choice has been made available to them at all.
  Earlier commerce graduates studied Economics as an integral part of their Honours course, FYUP has cheated them by making economics optional for them and by actually presenting Discipline II as rare  white goods that they have to stand  for in  lines since Economics will perforce be rationed to them
 The possibility of being a commerce graduate in four years with edited knowledge of  Commerce and none whatsoever  of economics  is very real. This is a pathetic prognosis for a program that promised "hands-on experience." The hands in question seem to be bent upon  wringing student futures.
 Imagine the state of the   student who does not get the  Discipline II Course  she\he opted for in the first place. They are for no fault of their own  in a course they do not want possibly for the second time.
 So by a clever  sleight of the hand and the wielding of the whip DU Administration continues to deny students the right to choose  the diluted courses they have set in motion, even in their second year at the university. This is very bad for student morale and remains a poor incentive to learning.
Bleaker truths will  continue to unfold for the poor FYUP ""guinea pigs". I mean no insult by this expression. This  term  was coined  to describe  freshmen\women by none other than the FYUP VC.
They were promised options of  two Discipline II Courses. This cannot happen since Discipline II courses have been graded semester wise  with ascending levels of specialization.
 Especially in the sciences a student studying  the first three units of one Discipline II course  in semester 3 4 and 5 and the last three units of another Discipline II Course in semester 6, 7 and 8 will be subject to  a  lopsided learning process. The shortage of rooms  and teaching staff will ensure  in all cases that no parallel classes can be run.
Those who will exit after semester four and semester six  remain of little significance  because according to DU administration these were after all  exit routes created to facilitate dropouts. We shall encounter  many muddled research paper writers  in the 7th and 8th semesters

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