New Delhi: Amid the protests and criticism over the newly introduced four-year undergraduate programme in the prestigious Delhi University, Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh has slammed the detractors saying that the new programme was not an eccentric brainwave of one man, and that the university brass was not a "bunch of doofuses" wrecking the system. PROTEST JPN/Agencies
Speaking on a TV channel, Singh said, "It's a big decision. It's not that one man woke up one day and decided to change the system. Do you think everybody here is a bunch of doofuses, who decided to wreck the system."
"Please give us some credit, there's some wisdom on our side. The academic council, the academic congress and executive council held massive consultations and more than 3,000 teachers participated in the syllabus-making process," he added.
Slamming allegations that students would lose a crucial year in the job market, Singh said it was not compulsory for students to stay for four years and that they can get a bachelor's degree with a major in a subject in three years.
"If it's bothering you, you can exit in three years. And then you can come back within 10 years and complete your four-year degree," he said.
He added that the new system would curb the dropout rate. "The dropout rate in Delhi University is 30 percent annually and eight percent quit in the third year. Now, you can at least leave with a piece of paper and come back after 10 years and complete your third year and fourth year. Your admission is guaranteed," Singh said.
Arguing that students will get a competitive edge in the job market, Singh said, "Four weeks ago, we invited a major corporate house for campus recruitment. Of the 1,100 students, only three were found eligible. This speaks volumes about our education system."
DU has changed its three-year undergraduate course to four years, making it compulsory for students to study 11 foundation courses during the first two years.
The new course system has faced strong Opposition from student groups and the Delhi University Teachers Association. They are demanding the resignation of the vice chancellor, who wants the four-year course to be implemented. Dalit groups have called the course anti-Dalit and anti-poor.
"This four-year programme is an anti-student educational reform that will adversely affect students coming from the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Castes (OBC), the physically-challenged and minority communities in many ways," said a joint statement from Campus Front of India (CFI), Democratic Students' Union (DSU) and Students Islamic Union (SIU).
The four-year degree programme has come under fire from educationists and jurists, who have asked for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to postpone it.
In a letter to the Prime Minister about the university converting its three-year undergraduate degree into a four-year programme, jurist
Rajinder Sachar and journalist Kuldeep Nayar, among others, said, "Several educationists and intellectuals all over the country have expressed their apprehensions about the merit of this decision."
"We believe that such a basic change in the higher education system/policy should first be considered and examined by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Parliament in consultation with prominent educationists of India," they said.
The letter added, "Delhi University does not exist in isolation. If this change is so valuable, it should be implemented on the national level and there should be a national debate about its merit." Delhi University can wait for a couple of years in the best interest of the students all over India, they said.
Recently, BJP leader Arun Jaitley has also urged Union Minister for Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju to defer the introduction of four-year undergraduate programme in the Delhi University, saying the issue requires a debate.
"I am of the opinion that the introduction of this course should be deferred for some time and extensive discussion be held amongst the academic community before the switchover decision is implemented," Jaitley appealed to the minister in his June 4 letter.
New Delhi: Amid the protests and criticism over the newly introduced four-year undergraduate programme in the prestigious Delhi University, Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh has slammed the detractors saying that the new programme was not an eccentric brainwave of one man, and that the university brass was not a "bunch of doofuses" wrecking the system.