Harish Kumar Trivedi’s article on the proposed four-year undergraduate programme at Delhi University, “Is Delhi University Dying?” (TOI May 29th 2013), for all its rhetorical flourishes, makes in fact a single point – the need for change. He is not alone in this belief; who could possibly be against reform? Who would want to stick their necks out in these breathless times and say, “Stop, why so fast?”
Many, many right-thinking people, actually, as the absolute barrage of criticism against the FYUP has shown. From the ordinary undergraduate teacher to academic and executive councils, committees of courses, and internationally renowned scholars, writers and academics. Now, there can be two responses to the range and variety of criticism that has been expressed. One would be to engage with it, based on the reasonable assumption that so many people involved with a profession cannot be entirely wrong. The other response is of the kind Professor Trivedi makes – to make an a priori argument for “change”. I say a priori because in fact there is only one, short paragraph in the article that discusses the possible advantages of the new system. One, that the new system ends the distinction between pass and honours courses. Two, that even if students exit after two years, they will still earn a “university qualification”. Three, it allows college teachers to frame a course in the fourth year.