On one hand, the government intends to review the National Education Policy, in effect from 1986, saying that it is time India got a new one. On the other, in the matter of Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), rejected recently by the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) , HRD minister Smriti Irani has said that the government will not intervene and UGC’s stand in the matter will be the final word. The dichotomy that this presents to the government is that the UGC is basing its rejection on the norms of the 1986 policy which uphold a 10+2+3 course for graduation in non-professional streams.
While the merits, or the lack thereof, of FYUP are debatable, what remains non-negotiable is the future of students who enrolled in DU colleges last year or are seeking enrolment in this year’s admission season. The former have already spent a year studying non-core subjects as part of the FYUP curriculum and the latter will shortly be enrolling under the programme, though admissions have been suspended temporarily over the issue. If DU has to scrap the FYUP— the UGC is threatening to pull grants for violation of its policies—it has to do so before the new academic year begins. Thus, at least those getting admitted this year will not lose time under the programme. The students who were admitted last year will lose a full academic year as the FYUP curriculum for the first year, common for all streams, is irrelevant under the three-year system that will be brought back. But if DU can manage a seamless migration—highly doubtful given that the course load will vastly increase—for such students,then starting right away would be making the best of a very bad situation.