The Sunday Guardian’s report about Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (SOL) still teaching an “archived” syllabus has clearly had an impact (DU’s School of Open Learning teaching discarded syllabus, 3 July). Following the report, a series of staff council meetings have been conducted in the SOL over the past week to discuss the issue. However, even though the council unanimously agreed to bring SOL’s academics and examination system at par with the rest of the colleges in the university, the council members allege that “nothing has been done on the ground yet”.
Requesting anonymity, a council member said, “We have heard that now the university’s vice-chancellor has directed SOL’s head to resolve the issue. But we haven’t seen our recommendations materialise on the ground yet. Now that we are starting to have regular meetings on the subject, we don’t want the issue to go back to cold storage.”
Prof Yogesh Tyagi, Delhi University’s new Vice-Chancellor who took charge earlier this February, said, “Efforts are being made to do the best for SOL.”
A Delhi High Court order on 19 November 2010 had clearly instructed the director of SOL to implement a semester system and directed teachers to start teaching the new syllabus.
C.S. Dubey, director, SOL, said, “It is not the teachers but I who has taken the initiative to bring parity in SOL. The new VC told me to look into the matter seriously and so I have started with the process to revise SOL’s syllabus. I am working in cooperation with my teachers who have assured me that they will be able to finish the syllabus revision by 30 September and I believe in them.” Asked why this took so long, Dubey said, “There were just too many factors working against us earlier, but now SOL is on a new path.”
Dr. Tapan Biswal, deputy director, South campus, SOL, said, “It is good that the top management is again taking up the issue, but no action and only discussions are ruining the lives of students. SOL students continue to suffer as though they get the same degree as the rest of the university’s graduates, their education quality is not equal to other university pass-outs.”
Devendra Kakkar, head of Political Science department, SOL said, “The examination fees for semester system have increased over time and even though students at SOL pay the same amount of money as examination fees, their exams are conducted in annual mode. This is not fair at all. Nothing substantive has been started by the top SOL management to introduce the present Choice Based Credit System (CBCS).”
Kakkar added, “Almost 60% of the syllabus that has been taught under the annual mode, four-year undergraduate programme and CBCS was overlapping. This means that the SOL’s study material, which is exclusively developed for the students pursuing distance education, only requires a limited number of changes to be made at par with the updated syllabus.”
The SOL continues to teach an “outdated” syllabus and conducts examinations on an “annual mode” instead of the semester mode applicable to the rest of the university. The “outdated” syllabus was archived by the university’s Academic Council (AC) in 2011. Due to this disparity, the DU is teaching two different syllabi for the same subjects, but granting degrees that are equivalent. This has affected students who could earlier migrate to and from SOL into regular colleges.