In a recent interview, DU VC Yogesh Singh addresses colleges reopening, the introduction of the four-year undergraduate programme next year and an alternative to the college’s merit-based admissions.
Appointed in September, Yogesh Singh is the 23rd Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. In a conversation with The Indian Express, he was asked questions on every issue plaguing the institution, right from the issue of colleges reopening to provisions about to be introduced under the new education policy next year. He emphasized streamlining the admission process for students across all boards and discussed challenges lying ahead for the university.
About The Admission Process Of 2022:
Merit-based admissions over the years have been inviting a lot of criticism due to sky-rocketing cut-offs and over admissions despite high percentages in prestigious colleges. As a response to this, a committee has been set up which will be suggesting possible solutions. He mentioned several options being explored and discussed possible methods for evaluation like the normalization of marks for students across all boards, Entrance tests, and a mixed-mode where both board marks and entrance test scores would be combined on a 50-50 basis. All these options will be discussed by the Academic Council on 10th December. The final decision will be based on the committee’s suggestions and will be taken on 17th December after a meeting with the Executive Council. The Central Ministry is planning on introducing CUCET (Central Universities- Common Entrance Test) for all universities- another option that the Academic and Executive Councils are exploring.
About Reopening of DU Colleges:
Despite the college being open for all practicals, projects, PhD students, research for PG and undergraduate final year students there is no hope for the colleges reopening unless the DDMA announces 100% capacity allowance across all colleges in Delhi, says Yogesh Singh. Citing insufficient infrastructure for over-admitted students, he said that offline classes can be allowed for students belonging to one year only. Students of all years cannot be currently accommodated by all colleges in the university. The decision for which batch of students will be called rests with the principals. Accommodating students in hostels is also not possible due to the 50% capacity rule.
These announcements came as no surprise to third-year students, who expressed their disappointment in the administration and its failure to deal effectively with the pandemic.
Wanting to continue theory classes for even just the third-year students is a good promise in theory, but DU has shown us that that’s the only thing they’re good at- false promises- so I’d take anything they say with a grain of salt. This honestly just goes to showcase the inefficiency of DU and the disregard of the government when it comes to its student population; it’s ridiculous that one of India’s “leading universities”, whose achievements the government takes so much pride in touting, doesn’t provide it with enough infrastructure and funds to be able to completely accommodate even a single batch. Not to mention the casual disregard by the DU administration towards its students’ future— we’ve been living with this pandemic since 2020. Almost every university has learned to adapt to this new normal, but DU still acts like they’ve been caught off-guard by an issue that’s been plaguing the world for almost two years now.Shreya Juyal, 3rd Year Student, Hansraj College
Implementation of National Education Policy:
Citing previous failures at implementing National Education Policy (NEP) as irrelevant to the current situation, Yogesh Singh emphasized how implementing FYUP would change very little as there is an exit option for students after every year. After three years, a Student can avail their graduation Honours degree and if they wish to stay for the fourth year, they can do so. He emphasized on how this new addition will only make things more flexible for students. The National Higher Education Qualification Framework is also set to come out very soon, which will help in the transition to NEP. All changes introduced must be Student-centric. Regarding colleges demanding autonomy, he pointed out how there are no provisions in the DU act for anything like that. However, the Indian government plans to introduce new laws for the same, and new provisions for degree-awarding power, too. Not only that, they plan to introduce a new Faculty of Technology with three departments which will allow students to study different minors.
NEP also plans to do away with the affiliation system. Under this system, different teachers performed duties like teaching, setting the question paper, marking, etc. Under NEP, one teacher will be responsible for everything. This, according to Yogesh Singh, will ensure a stronger student-teacher relationship and will discourage rote learning.
OBEs & The Road Ahead:
Upon being asked about the University’s decision to keep OBEs- he emphasized how it may have not been the ideal choice- but was the best one given current circumstances due to the pandemic. Due to the affiliating system, the questions asked in the examination are kept relatively easy on purpose to avoid chaos, as the saying question paper is given to 70-80 institutions. For PG courses, he suggested offline open-book exams, because their teachers can set a proper question paper by collaborating together- which is not possible for the undergraduate programme due to the affiliation system.
However, many students have complained about the standard of education being imparted currently, which is significantly hindered by the online mode. Many have come forward to demand offline classes, citing it as a necessity.
We all know that online classes are not working out for a variety of reasons, which is why offline classes are increasingly becoming a necessity if “college education” is supposed to mean something. The pandemic has been a troubling time for all of us. As students, we’ve spent so much time figuring out “how” to get our education and what’s right and wrong while dealing with personal and global tragedies. These past two years have been so difficult for teachers, students- everyone! Yet, even now, the structure of DU has failed to give us a sense of security. I would love to come to college but most of all I’d love to not be a judge and jury for all things good and bad. DU needs to support its students, not question and create problems at every step. We’re tired.Anonymous, 3rd Year Student, Hindu College
Yogesh Singh has high hopes for the university. He aims to make sure that it features in the list of top 200 universities across the world, and ensure that students get the opportunities and fellowships they need across the institution.
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