By Rhea Grover
Human beings are insatiable for discontentment and the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. It is this very nature of human psyche that was exemplified by the clash between first years detesting the FYUP and the others calling them lucky to be in such a system. And it is because of this very reason that I discredited these opinions and just waited to see how the system fares. But, as I saw the DUSU notices around college and the rigorous protests that broke out again in the second semester against the much critiqued new system of education implemented by Delhi University’s Dexter Morgan, Prof. Dinesh Singh I was urged to further contemplate the issue.
I do not intend for this article to sound like a page out of a cribbing teenager’s personal diary and point out every flaw under the sun about the FYUP but to list out its merits along with its demerits in an objective fashion. I don’t know about Morgan but at the end of this article you might just be able to classify Singh as a sinner or a savior.
Let’s start with examining the less popular view about how the FYUP might just be a good thing. Let’s ask ourselves one question: can any of us honestly say that we have not cribbed or heard someone crib about how the Indian Education System is impractical and should be more like the foreign system? No. What the FYUP essentially does is make our system more in line with the foreign system of education, adopting policies of holistic learning through opening the students to diverse subjects along with teaching them the art of presenting and communicating. It’s especially beneficial for students who want to go abroad to pursue a higher degree. It provides students who possess interpersonal skills and hobbies outside of their subject to get recognition for the same and students who aren’t as adept at various activities an opportunity to hone the skills required. After all, the ‘toppers’ of our system, don’t exactly top the test of life thanks to the rote learning culture in India.
Now that we’ve spoken about rainbows, let’s examine the other side of the coin. I mean a political party wouldn’t really include rolling it back in it’s election manifesto, even if this party is AAP, for no reason. So what is the problem with the FYUP? The fact is that what has started setting Indians apart and helping them achieve better positions in their careers was the in-depth knowledge of their subject. Even adding another year to the duration of the degree couldn’t help them fit 50 redundant and 5 good courses without diluting the existing ones a little. So in an attempt to copy the foreign system we lost our own specialization. This is just one of the problems stemming as a consequence of the hurried nature of the implementation of the programme. Courses meant to be done in two separate semesters were merged into one pushing students and teachers to run over the course haphazardly, the order of courses was reversed which makes understanding concepts tough and the syllabi and books were clearly made in a rush and do not encapsulate the ‘holistic development’ the programme promised.
Fact still remains that there are many things that books can’t really teach us and even though the course is a little diluted, I see myself discussing issues I’m really interested in. I get most of the ideas for my articles through my English classes at college and if the subjects are taught properly they can really develop our ability to critically think and learn a plethora of things pertaining to various subjects, expanding our knowledge and ability.
More importantly we CAN’T roll back the FYUP because that back would just make it worse. How, you ask? Well, first of all, it would mean another system shift and we saw how we took it the first time and how efficiently we managed the transition. Another problem that arises is that just one batch will have a different degree and the repercussions include an unemployed batch and a really messed up time tables. And it would be impossible to change the system for the batch already under the FYUP because that means that they either lose a year or they lose the credibility of certain courses which makes their degree defective. So we might as well make the most of it and instead of blindly opposing it try to listen and learn in class and we might just stumble upon something that would help us for the rest of our lives.