With the deadline for implementing the semester system approaching, the tssle between teachers and the administrators of Delhi University continues.
Debate over the semester system in Delhi University has yet again gained momentum. In a recent development, the faculty of social sciences (geography, political science, sociology, history and economics, etc), has rejected the semester system. As a result, the new syllabi for the semester have not been cleared for the departments under it.
According to PK Parihar, associate professor, geography, Dayal Singh College, “Each department has its share of reasons for not switching over to the semester mode. In the annual system we get about 1900 hours of teaching, which would be reduced to 1100 in the semester system.”
Also, KK Anand, associate professor, political science, pointed out, “The university offers no clarity on developing a uniform module. We have to know the number of major and minor papers to prepare the course.”
The departments of history and sociology have rejected the idea citing time constraint. “Subjects like English, sociology, history, among others — taught at the undergraduate level — are different in shape and form from what students are taught in schools. We get a diverse range of students from all backgrounds. It takes time to familiarise them with the subject pedagogy. The semester system would be too difficult for them. Also, it will be difficult for us to ensure individual attention,” said Pankaj Jha, professor, history, Lady Shri Ram College.
Recently, the arts faculty cleared the syllabi for the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of 11 of its 14 departments, including Arabic, Buddhist studies, modern Indian languages and literary studies, Persian, philosophy, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Hindi, psychology, Urdu and linguistics.
Following this, HS Prasad, dean, faculty of arts, said, “The academic council has decided to go for the semester system and we are obliged to follow it. This will help in bringing uniformity in UG and PG education offered at the university. All the approvals were free of hassles.”
Within the faculty of arts, the departments of English and German & Romance Studies are yet to decide about the semester system at the undergraduate level. “We have cleared the course for BA (programme) but discussions are still on for clearing the syllabi for the BA (honours) course,” said Sumanyu Satpathy, head, department of English. Prasad, however, stated that they have been given a deadline of March 28 to take a decision.
Coming from an annual system at the Bachelor’s level to a semester system at the Master’s level, students are feeling the heat. “It is a packed schedule. There are four papers in each semester and back-to-back classes are being held to complete the syllabus. Most of the time, faculty members are unable to take classes and the syllabus is left incomplete,” informed Ishant Mittal, first-year student, MA (English).
Ruby Tripathi, a final-year student, MA (Hindi), echoed similar sentiments, “It is too hectic. We do not get adequate time to study in between presentations and group discussions that have been incorporated in the new study scheme. We are loaded with assignments and when we are done with these, the exams await us.”
DU had introduced the semester system in 13 undergraduate science programmes last year.
According to Abha Dev Habib, assistant professor, physics, Miranda House, “With so much course content to complete in the semester system, we have to rush with the prescribed syllabus. The earlier, interdisciplinary nature of the course has gone for a toss as students are offered fewer subjects to choose from and the course is more or less rigid,” concluded Habib.