By Ann M. Koenig, AACRAO International Education Services
One year after it was introduced, and just one month before the start of the 2014-15 academic year, the new “four-year undergraduate program (FYUP)” at the University of Delhi has been discontinued due to pressure from India’s University Grants Commission (UGC), which oversees the regulation and funding of India’s higher education institutions. The UGC’s action, in turn, was a result of pressure from political parties that had promised an end to the FYUP as part of their platforms in recent elections. While the FYUP had been controversial from its very inception, the UGC’s order to dismantle the FYUP and return to the three-year bachelor degree structure not only is causing havoc for the university’s constituent colleges and students, it raises concerns about the issues of politics, the national government’s influence over the UGC, and the autonomy of the universities.
It should be noted that the FYUP degree programs were designed for fields of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Commerce, which are three-year programs at all other Indian universities. While the B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology) was included in the design of the FYUP, it was a four-year program prior to the introduction of the FYUP and is a four-year degree at all other institutions. University of Delhi B.Tech. students have been assured their program will remain four years and not be affected by the change back to the three-year structure.
Impact on Students
Approximately 60,000 students were admitted into the FYUP structure last year, according to a report by University World News. The university must now restructure their four-year programs to conform to the traditional three-year structure. The university’s home page provides links to information about the restructuring of those programs.
The directive from the UGC came down in the midst of the admissions process at the University of Delhi’s constituent colleges, causing confusion among students and administrators. At that point, in late June, just one month before the start of the 2014-15 academic year, the university’s 64 constituent colleges were handling applications from some 270,000 students for 54,000 available places, according to University World News. Online video at The Times of India website shows demonstrations and refers to the situation as “massive drama”.
Advice for US Admissions Officers and Registrars
US admissions and registrar offices should note that the FYUP was in effect for just one academic year, 2013-14. When the FYUP was introduced, the University of Delhi published several guidebooks for students. AACRAO International Education Services recommends that colleagues contact the University of Dehli’s Registrar’s office for assistance if questions should arise.