Dalit activists Friday joined Delhi University (DU) teachers in protesting against the four-year undergraduate course, saying it will discourage students from economically and socially marginalised sections.
"The four-year course will only mean that the students from the socially and economically backward classes will get marginalised," said Udit Raj, chairman, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations.
"The foundation course will be difficult for students from rural backgrounds to complete it. They also do not have resources to meet the expenditure of an additional year of education," he said.
"They are trying to make education elitist. Only the elite will be able to do this four-year course," he said.
Teachers from the university added that the stress on English and Mathematics in the foundation course will discourage students.
"A student from a rural background today can take admission in courses like Hindi and Sanskrit. That would not be the case when the new system is introduced," said Kaushal Panwar, who teaches Sanskrit at DU.
"Those who have given up mathematics after 12th, how would they do the foundation course? The material recommended is mostly publications of foreign authors, which is expensive and in English. Not everyone can afford that," said Vijaya Venkataraman, associate professor of Spanish at DU.
The activists and teachers have jointly formed the Joint Action Front for Democratic Education to protest the move by DU.
The courses under the new four-year undergraduate programme comprise 11 foundation courses, compulsory for all students in the first four semesters.