No semester system yet at DU's School of Open Learning
New Delhi: Four years after Delhi University implemented semester system for various courses, its distance education wing still continues to operate in the annual mode, hindering the prospect of meritorious students seeking migration to regular colleges.
After the row over the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), DU students and teachers are now at loggerheads with the authorities over the issue.
"The semester system was implemented despite objection from students and teachers, and once the authorities have implemented it, why are meritorious students being made to suffer due to its non-implementation in the School of Open Learning (SOL)?" asked Nandita Narain, president of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA).
"Either the system should be rolled back or if it has to be in place, then SOL should also adopt it," she added.
Earlier, meritorious students were allowed to migrate from honours courses in SOL to regular programmes in colleges. This practice was popular with students who could not score well in Class XII examinations but would work hard in the first year at SOL to get into DU colleges. But it was stopped after the implementation of the semester system due to the difference in the examination and evaluation patterns.
"Despite a Delhi High Court order directing all the constituent colleges of DU to follow the semester system including the School of Open Learning, it has not been implemented yet," J Khuntia, spokesperson of SOL Teachers Association (SOLTA), said.
"The UGC's Distance Education Council (DEC) had also directed SOL to bring its courses at par with the regular courses to avoid de-recognition of its degrees, but the authorities have been keeping mum over it," added Khuntia.
The DU authorities, however, claim that it is not practically feasible to implement the semester system in the distance education wing.
"We check over 22 lakh copies every year, if we implement the semester system, the workload on the examination department will be uncontrollable. It is not practically feasible," SOL Director CS Dubey said.
"As per the DEC guidelines, it is the syllabus which has to be at par with the regular courses and not the examination system. However, we are in the process of devising a continuous evaluation policy for the students which will enable them to seek migration to regular colleges," SOL Director Dubey said.
The School of Open Learning, formerly known as School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education, is the distance education wing of Delhi University and enrolls over one lakh students every year.
According to varsity records, around 4.5 lakh students are enrolled in various undergraduate/postgraduate degree courses in Arts/Humanities and Commerce streams.
Students and teachers have been opposing the semester system since its implementation, saying that it has paved way for more contractual appointments rather than full time employment opportunities and has resulted in 'anti-student' moves like withdrawal of special chance and supplementary examinations.