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There was a time when college education, especially graduation, was considered the most stable and unwavering source of education after schooling, until the present time when school education too has not been devoid of the experimentation phase.  To be more specific, experimentation, that too in the education sector, needs to be done after considering all the aspects and sides of those involved especially the students and not merely treating them as guinea pigs, bound to be put under the knife.

College education, over the years, has undergone a rapid transformation in developing countries, especially in India, which has somehow been misguided by the “external influences”, giving way to some imprudent moves and unsuitable consequences. Change is good only when it is done in a calculated way and that too after carefully examining (going through the pros and cons) and understanding the system where the change is being applied. One such short-lived-miscalculated happening, which shook the college education system and created quite a buzz, was Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP). The programme, which unfortunately backfired and was a resultant of the “external influence”, was believed to be introduced to make the lives of the students easier and to upgrade the college education system.

Another such approach or to say another experimental move was done last year, when University Grants Commission finally gave the green signal for the implementation of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS).  The basic idea of the system, which was implemented for the first year students, was to redefine the curriculum, making the way clear for students to opt for various courses and colleges across the world. In addition to this, students were also getting a chance to opt for and study subjects on their own will, making college education interesting, but it didn’t turn out to be exactly the way it should have been.

The first semester of three-year undergraduate program of Delhi University, whose examinations were held last year and the results were out in January this year, saw mixed reactions from the students as well as the teachers after the results were out. While some were happy from the outcome that was visible after the implementation of CBCS, others still couldn’t figure out the whole affair.

Sakshi, a first year student of Psychology Honors said, “Last year when we used to go to the open days held by DU during the admissions, we witnessed the tiff between the students, administration and the faculty members regarding CBCS. We wanted to gain information regarding the new system introduced but no one could guide us, as they themselves were clueless. Even after getting admission, we were not properly explained about the pattern to be followed and we were just told that we are supposed to choose subjects and earn credits. We couldn’t go to our seniors for help as our super seniors were themselves disturbed due to the problem they had to face after FYUP was scrapped and the second year students too were dealing with the aftermath of the dissolution of FYUP.”

Explaining about the course structure for her subject under CBCS, she said, “As I said we were not properly informed about the course structure but then we were given choices of two subjects-English and Environmental Science, out of which we had to choose one for the first semester and we had to work according to the credits assigned to that subject. I opted for Environmental Science, which had 13 credit points and along with the curriculum, field trips were also organised, which was quite informative and interesting.” Along with the students, teachers too had a tough time getting used to the new system and accepting it. Those who initially opposed it also had to accept it somehow. The problem here was that the faculty members weren’t quite informed and many did not possess the knowledge required regarding the new course structure and pattern introduced.

“The system introduced was being opposed because of the English-Hindi medium distinction as the majority is of the Hindi medium students and it would have posed as a problem if new courses would have been introduced due to the language barrier. Among the subjects given, many wouldn’t want to opt for Hindi and since the Hindi department is the largest of all the departments in most of the colleges, in that case the teachers teaching Hindi would be out of work. But apart from that, there isn’t any problem in accepting the system except for one which is more like a challenge and that is the lack of knowledge regarding CBCS. In my opinion, the only solution to this is that teachers should be given proper training and workshops should be held for the teachers to educate them about the new systems being implemented. In this way, the teachers would be able to communicate better with their students and would be able to make them understand the pattern and help them cope with it”, said professor Bhaskar, lecturer teaching in a college of Delhi University on CBCS.

Commenting on the relevance of CBCS, he added, “CBCS has been successful in other countries but the problem here is that there are limited number of options as in other countries there are 18-22 credit course options but here are only 5-10, which is very less and needs to be increased. The system is good and it is beneficial for the students as they are no longer will be compelled to study the subjects they don’t like. They can choose from the options of subjects, which suit their interests and score well in the exams. The system can be made successful here only with a little effort from the university, administration as well as teachers.”

CBCS, which hasn’t completed a year has garnered mixed reactions from people but under the circumstances where many were-are not aware about the features and they don’t know whom to approach. This can be changed if the system is revised and those imparting knowledge are made knowledgeable first. Also necessary changes need to done in order to provide the best of best education to the students and not compromise with their future.
Sonali Mitra

Sonali Mitra

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