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Philosophy

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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).

The Course
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.

Extra-curricular Activities
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.

Exit Points
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.

Employability
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.

Final verdict
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)

Lady Shri Ram College is one of the first colleges in DU to hold its college elections, and this year, the elections began in a hurry as the date for the college day was declared late. The department elections began on Monday, 1st April with the candidates submitting their nomination forms. Elections for some departments were held on 2nd; whereas other departments had their election on 3rd. Strict rules for elections were laid down. According to the rules, any candidate found campaigning through internet or SMS would be immediately disqualified from the elections. On the 2nd History Department held their elections, whereas other departments like Political Science, Statistics, Philosophy, Economics, etc. held their elections the next day. All candidates needed a third year and a second year to nominate them, and one could see frantic first years running around asking seniors to nominate them and read their agenda. According to a first year candidate running for the post of Department Treasurer, ‘contesting the elections has been a whole new experience for me altogether. I have learnt through my research about so many problems that the students are facing, especially when it comes to accounts, and I hope I can create a more transparent accounts system for my department in case I get elected.’ The following candidates were declared Presidents of their respective department Unions: Amanjit Kaur: Sociology Vaishnavi Singh: History Srujana Yadav: Political Science Prerna Kannan: Statistics Charvi Kain: Economics Gurman Bhatia: Journalism Image: Sapna Mathur ([email protected]  ]]>

Second year students of Lady Shri Ram College have a stream of complaints relating to the lack of choice given between the different inter-disciplinary courses offered by Delhi University. Most of the Honours courses in this college have no say when it comes to which subject they need to opt for, leading to indignation in some students. “We’re being forced to study Environmental History. This really beats the purpose of an ‘inter-disciplinary’ course as we’re still stuck with a subject linked to history. How is this one of the premier colleges of the country when a simple choice offered by the University itself is denied to us?” says Diwita Mathivanan, an angry second year student pursuing History Honours.

This is not just the case with one or two courses. Political Science, Sociology, Psychology and Philosophy Honours students are left with no option but to take up Individual and Society, an English Credit course. “Ideally, we were supposed to be offered a choice between so many subjects, but at the beginning of this semester we were given Individual and Society without any questions asked or opinions taken into consideration,” claims Aarushi Chugh, a second year Sociology student. English is one of the only courses that offers a choice between Gender studies and Philosophy as Individual and Society is a credit course they complete in their first year.

When the teachers were questioned, almost all of them had the same answer. Due to the impossible cut-offs that keep increasing each year, complimented by the equally ridiculous marks doled out by educational systems, the number of students in each course is increasing by a big margin every year. Due to a disproportionate ratio between the faculty available and the students, courses with a larger number of students like History and Political Science are not left with any options for their credit courses.

Another requirement put forward by the teaching staff is that at least one-fourth of the class must be in favour of a particular subject for it to be offered, subject to sufficient availability of teachers. This is leading to the faculty making the decisions themselves and no options are given to the students. There is talk of General Body Meetings being held within the different courses with all the students involved, so that the faculty gets a better idea of what subjects are preferred, but as of now, the students continue to resent the fact that they’re forced to read something  which they would rather not spend any time.