Philosophy, the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, has been a core academic discipline for centuries to come now. With an increase in the percentage of young minds wanting to develop a thought process of their own and to learn how to do so, B.A (H) in Philosophy has become one of the most sought after courses in the University of Delhi. Available in most of DU’s most renowned colleges, like St. Stephens, Miranda House, Lady Shri Ram, Hindu etc., this course has seen a sudden hike in the number of takers. So here at DU Beat, we decided to analysis the changes made in this course with the advent of the new Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP).
Analysing the University’s undergraduate Philosophy course in particular, we can definitely see that the course has become more rigorous than its predecessor. The subjects introduced at a foundation level are ones unrelated to philosophy (with the exception of Philosophy, Psychology, Communication and Life Skills), but definitely help in understanding the subject better and help sharpen the student’s analytical skills. It also gives a subject like philosophy a more practical, hands-on approach; but alongside a core, theoretical subject like philosophy, it is deemed not required.
The Integrating Mind, Body and Heart course is a welcome addition as it is a core philosophical subject which aims at honing a student’s moralistic side. The applied courses include the likes of Aesthetics and Art Appreciation, Bio-ethics, Meditation and Today, Issues in Applied Ethics etc. These courses definitely help students understand the wide spread implication of a subject like this, but studying subjects like ‘Meditation’ and ‘Art appreciation’ makes the subject extremely stereotypical, and add fuel to the fire as students already question the vague nature of the subject. The winning factor of this new program is the emphasis on the understanding of concepts like Ethics, which people across on a daily basis in their student/work life.
The revelation that extra-curricular activities would now hold credit is one of great joy for most students, as in a University like that of Delhi; most students come with the hopes of indulging in their choice of activities along with their studies.
Freedom of Choice
While students will now be able to make an informed choice about exactly what honours degree they’d like to pursue, there has also been certain curtailing of free choice, with the eleven foundation courses being compulsory along with one applied language course.
Under the FYUP, the mid course exit points provided after two years and three years respectively may also prove to be the easier way out for some. Giving young 18-19 year old students an open choice as to leave in 2-3 years makes it difficult for them to make career choices in their formative years.
Also, a subject like philosophy needs time to be studied and understood, but with the option of quitting; there is going to be a major increase in the drop-out rates of our country, making this course a not so feasible option.
The new FYUP has definitely made a traditionally academic subject like philosophy more market-friendly as the terminology of having a ‘professional degree’ now makes it easier for arts students to land jobs immediately after their under-graduation. Also, the study of various other humanities subjects alongside those of science enables graduates in philosophy to choose from a wider plethora of career options.
The FYUP has definitely changed the course structure of philosophy for the better by making it more practical in nature, but it definitely has definitely lessened the value of this subject as a core academically taught program. The success of this course can only be judged after we see the increase or decrease in the number of takers for this subject.
(For analysis of other courses click here)