Foundation Courses


Disclaimer: Bazinga is DU Beat’s weekly column of almost-believable fake news!

Almost a month after the declaration of FYUP results, the University of Delhi has decided to revaluate the FC papers. This decision has come amidst numerous protests against the inflation of scores and the shocking disparity in marks from college to college.

Under the new system, a foundation course is for 75 marks, out of which 55 are marked through projects, presentations, class discussions etc and the remaining 20 are allocated to a centrally prepared exam. This test was also evaluated within each college, making the entire process of assessment of Foundation Courses an internal one. Some students have scored from mid 80s to 90s, a feat which seemed impossible for an average college student till just last year, making it clear that DU was now going the CBSE route and inflating scores. The University also cited the obvious inequality in the marks distribution in different colleges as one of the reasons behind this decision.

It’s not just the students who were appalled by the discrepancies, even teachers are empathizing with their students, “Since history is a theoretical paper, I gave my students a maximum of 45 in their projects and presentations and 15 out of 20 in their exam, I was shocked to see that other colleges had given their students as many as 53 in the internals and a full 20 in the exam!” said a teacher from CVS.

As per the notice issued in this regard, the FC answer sheets will now be rechecked like those of the Discipline Courses to ensure an impartial marking. The new results will be out by the end of the month. The University can be seen buckling under the pressure from DUTA, DUSU, and other organizations protesting against the FYUP and demanding a rollback.

Disclaimer: Bazinga is DU Beat’s weekly column of almost-believable fake news!


The shift to the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) in Delhi University also led to the incorporation of the much hyped and criticised Foundation Courses. The University also sanctioned some books and extra classes in adherence to the same. The courses sublimed into the regular college hours easily and students accepted them as a part of their curriculum. But now, with the culmination of the 1st semester exams, many eyebrows are being raised on the mere basis of these courses.

The emerging concern here is with respect to the questions that propped up during the examinations. As we approached the students to gather their sentiments on the same, one could easily figure out the angst in them. “I came to college to receive education of higher quality and learn things my school life prepared me for 13 years, not to do things as juvenile as writing a paragraph on national harmony”, said Saptarshi Lahiri, pursuing political science from SGTB Khalsa College. The questions which came in the exams merely connoted themselves to the respective courses.

For example, a student had to write an essay on the ‘Importance of festivals in integrating different religions of India’, in the exam of FC-Hindi, something which he/she could have written on the basis of mere general knowledge. Not only Hindi, but various other FCs had similar questions.

“Anyone could have answered them (questions) without even attending a single class”, said Roopali Handa, a student from SRCC, while referring to a question, ‘To write an article on social networking sites’ which came in the exam of Information Technology. Similar reactions were seen from those who came out after giving the exam for FC – Maths. ‘The material provided in the book and questions asked in the exam were irrelative. For example, Q5 required a person to make a bar graph or pie chart for which there are few methods, which were though not mentioned in book’, said Kalee Kapoor of Matreyi college.

One can easily figure out the increasing rage pertaining to FCs among the students. With DUTA demanding a rollback and the rising sentiments of students who are unhappy with the inclusion of FCs, along with 44 colleges against the FYUP, the Foundation Courses as well as the FYUP seem to be in deep trouble.

With the colleges finally reopening  and the freshers looking forward to the orientation sessions, enthused and all pepped up, here’s the new buzz with all the information about the Foundation Courses that the University wants to fill you in with.

In the changes that seem to be toppling the world for some and making it a better place for others under the four year under graduate program, we will now have specially prepared Study Material for the foundation courses which will be launched in the coming weeks. Translations in Hindi of the same would also be available. The content allows the student to push himself/herself a step further to supplement the daily knowledge with tasks prescribed which are to be undertaken at home.  Study Material for MIL and other languages are available at the concerned department.

For providing  a better and a more innovative mode of learning, more than 1250 teachers have attended Orientation workshops at CPDHE, in order  to adapt to the new pedagogy of participative learning.  In order to get a hands on experience with the working of these modules, a master class for a batch of about 40 students was held on 16-17th July 2013 at which sample modules by eminent scholars were offered.

Finally, in what seems like a respite, the small corner behind your readers, prescribing some essential readings for all , which  for most of us meant- the  additional and failed task of trying to get them from somewhere and eventually not laying our hands on them, will not be a hassle anymore. The libraries in colleges and on campus will now be equipped with the same. Adding to these, Institute of Lifelong Learning will be periodically uploading online material for the foundation courses.

Adding to these series of changes, alternate foundation courses for ‘Mathematics’ and ‘Science’ have been designed for  the Visually Impaired students.

[via Delhi University]

Despite all apprehensions and oppositions from the student and teacher community alike, Delhi University has gone ahead to introduce the four-year programme from the academic session 2013-2014. (Entire admissions 2013 coverage here) Spread over four semesters, Delhi University will offer 11 foundation courses that newly admitted students will be taught. As per the claims made by the University, the main purpose behind these courses is to encourage holistic personality development of a student who is well grounded to the realities the Indian Society is dealing with and every student will be required to clear these 11 papers irrespective of his stream. The foundation courses include:

 First Year:

  • Language, Literature, and Creativity – I
  • Language, Literature, and Creativity – II (English)
  • Information Technology
  • Business, Entrepreneurship, and Management
  • Science and Life
  • Indian History and Culture
  • Building Mathematical Ability
  • Applied Language Course – (any one course).
    • Arabic
    • Bengali
    • English
    • Hindi
    • Persian
    • Punjabi
    • Sanskrit
    • Urdu

 Second Year:

  • Governance and Citizenship
  • Philosophy, Psychology, Communication and Life Skills
  • Geographic and Socio-Economic Diversity
  • Environment and Public Health

These foundation courses aim to increase the interaction of teachers and students and promote a congenial environment to increase a students understanding of what is happening in the world as well as create basic digital literacy.

Since these courses are being introduced for the first time, DU is doing everything to ensure the smooth implementation of these courses. Another round of confusion has been around the question of who will teach these foundation courses. DU has made one thing clear, these courses will be taught by current university faculty who will first be trained to conduct these classes.

So far, the CPDHE, the training unit for Delhi University teachers, has conducted workshops and orientation programmes for 756 teachers in 7 Foundation courses during the last six weeks. The idea is to equip them to teach these courses in a manner that yields some tangible benefits for their students. Theses courses also aim to discourage rote learning and facilitate a high level of understanding through presentations, discussions and interactive sessions. Every college has nominated their faculty members and only the teachers who have received prior training will be entrusted with the task of teaching these courses. Hence, apparently this will result in college faculty teaching school level courses.

In an effort to make sense out of this entire exercise, a lot of teachers have questioned the need to introduce these courses that they feel should have been taken care of at the school level and that they undermine the importance of the specialised stream a student has opted for. To add to their pointlessness, these courses also jeopardise valuable classroom time that could have been used to study the core subject in detail. For instance, a student studying Political Science will not be able to appreciate the complexities of ‘science and life’ or ‘information technology’.

Yet, all said and done, only time will tell what the introduction of the 4 year program does for our education system and the country at large.

(Also see: All you wanted to know about the Four Year Undergraduate Programme)

Image Credit: University of Delhi official website

Amidst the hype around the newly introduced four year undergraduate programme, we have been discussing what could be right and what could seriously go wrong. With that wave of discussion as well as confusion, majority of us (except the VC of course) have criticized the FYUP. Here is a flip side of the coin. A few pointers on why the FYUP might not be that bad an idea:

  • Practical Knowledge: Foundation Courses covering an array of subjects from Arts, Science, Social Sciences and Commerce backgrounds, will equip students with appropriate communication skills, mathematical ability and other such skills that are required to face real life challenges. Students are also expected to study Application papers, to encourage application-based knowledge. In the final year, students shall be expected to pursue two Research based papers/ Innovation projects, something which does not exist under the current framework for majority of the courses. Hence, the FYUP might encourage the assimilation of knowledge, and not just learning for an upcoming examination.
  • The professional ‘tag’: Supporters of the FYUP are selling the idea stating that it is a more professional course and will create employable youngsters. If we stick to social myths, a B.Tech has been the way to go. If you want to earn money, you do not do a B.Sc./B.A but rather a professional course such as B.Tech. Even with general ‘academic’ courses being awarded with a professional tag, it might actually create more employable students.
  • Integration of Sports and ECA to the curriculum: Until now, sports and ECA have not been an active part of the curriculum. With the FYUP, students have the option to gain course credit from these activities. Hence, students who often contemplate about leaving passion in these fields due to academics can actually stay on and pursue them and gain credits from the same. Heads up for encouraging extra-curricular activities!
  • Better opportunities for higher education: For students wishing to go abroad for their masters, countries such as America have had limited options. The reason being majority of reputed colleges such as the Ivy League institutions require four years of undergraduate study. People who want pursue education at these places, opt to spend a year in other interim courses to bridge the requirement. With the FYUP in place, you would be eligible for applying fresh out of college.
  • Multiple degree options: While most people have been debating that the multiple degree option in the FYUP is meant to create disparity, the fact that the course gives a ‘choice’ is one to be appreciated. For example, if my economic condition does not allow me to finish my education and I leave after two years to get job, I have a diploma and have the option of turning it into an honours degree in the future. It’s about choices.
  • Digital awareness: Not everyone grows up amidst internet access and the FYUP acknowledges that. Creating foundational courses that work on to giving basic IT understanding to everyone is a positive step. Access to laptops might work in the right direction as well. With such approach the idea is to bring everyone on the same level before the real education in their major begins.
  • A step towards an International model: Adopting the credit system leaves room for studying a certain course at your pace. We can also assume that soon like the international system, community work and internships will also contribute to your credit score. If one rather wants to concentrate on training on field, you can work on that. If someone wants to get the fundamentals right, they can work on that bit. Again, it’s about giving the student a choice of how they wish to approach their under graduation.

These are a few things that strike right about Delhi University’s four year programme. By stating these we don’t wish to contemplate that everything about the FYUP is great, but rather stress on the fact that apart from the negative debates, there exists positivity on the subject as well.

(Also See: Apprehensions about the Four Year Undergraduate Programme)