Delhi University Task Force on Redefining Education meets to frame courses for four-year programme

The Task Force on Redefining Education met on Monday to discuss the content of the courses to be offered as part of Delhi University's (DU) four-year undergraduate programme. The programme was approved by DU's Academic and Executive Councils in December.

According to earlier recommendations made by the task force, the programme will offer 11 foundation courses on subjects such as information technology, mathematics, psychology and communication skills, environment and public health, geography and social development. In the meeting on Monday, Task Force members discussed whether these foundation courses should be based completely on theory.

"We had a brain-storming session on whether the foundations courses should be fully theoretical papers or whether half of it should focus on skills and projects," Virender Bhardwaj, a member of the Task Force who teaches at Shivaji College, said.

Another member of the task force, Sangeet Ragi, said, "The pedagogy relating to these courses was discussed. This includes the manner in which these papers are to be taught and the structuring of the syllabus."

Members pointed to the need for structuring the syllabus on the basis of working days in every semester. "We have 12 working weeks in a semester. The content in courses should be trimmed accordingly. While this kind of trimming is needed, we also need to ensure that the student has a deep understanding of the subject," Ragi said.

"In the semester system, the content of some courses is huge. Within a limited period, it becomes difficult for students to grasp the issue and understand it," Bhardwaj said.

Ragi added, "A distinction needs to be made between essential and desirable readings. There are a list of entire books that students, at present, need to read to for a paper. Often, it becomes impossible for students to go through all of the reading material and many end up relying on notes handed down by seniors or guide books. We hope to design the courses in such a way that students can apply theories taught in class."

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