Friday, August 08, 2014

A Nasty Surprise

G. Mudur and Basant Mohanty in The Telegraph yesterday: Meddle Virus Spreads to IISc:

The Centre today told Parliament that the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been asked to discontinue its four-year undergraduate BS programme but the institute said it had not received any such orders.

HRD minister Smriti Irani, in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, said the University Grants Commission has reported that several universities, including the IISc, that are conducting four-year programmes have been asked to discontinue them and follow UGC notification on degrees.

Although IISc faculty said they had not received such a directive from the UGC, the reply in the House has triggered expressions of outrage in the science community.

And a follow-up story today: Parents to IISc: defy order on 4yr course with quotes from lots of parents, as well as non-IISc affiliated scientists -- Prof. Pushpa Bhargava and Prof. Lakhotia, in particular -- expressing their concern and/or outrage.

* * *

This is cutting too close for my comfort, so I'll refrain from offering any comment other than to express my hope that this will get resolved soon.


  1. ajitjadhav said...

    Quoting from the same article (the way it ends):

    ``In June this year, the UGC, instructed by the HRD ministry, had directed Delhi University discontinue its four-year undergraduate programme and go back to the earlier three-year system.

    The ministry said that the four-year programme in general streams of arts, science and commerce had violated the National Policy on Education, 1986. The ministry says the NPE provides for 10+2+3 system for students pursuing general stream of education.''

    Hmm.... The [senior] RaGa's policies now being efficiently implemented by NaMo's government... Policies following one landslide victory to enthusiastic implementation after another landslide victory.

    ... What may we call this? ... Unity? Equality? National integration? Continuity? ... Or why, may be, just may be, plain old Indian tradition! ... Ok, now that does seem just about right, no? ... Or is it something else again?


  2. Madhavan Chalat said...

    While I am in complete agreement that the Universities in general, and quality institutes like IISc in particular, should have complete autonomy to run their affairs, haven't yet come across any write-up that explains why a 4 year course is better than a 3 year course. At least in the case of Delhi University, many teachers and activists had express opinion that the extra one year added to the course did not add to its quality or usefulness to the students. but haven't any such pro-FYUP write-ups. May be you could add some information on that side of the discussion based on your experience at the IISc. That a FYUP puts Indian degrees at par with degrees from Western universities, especially US, is not really a viable defence, IMHO.

  3. Abi said...

    @Madhavan Chalat: I suggest you start with the Executive Summary of this position paper from the three Indian Science Academies.

    I think there is ample evidence in the public domain that our FYUP has a strong, broadbased support from both faculty and students. A lot of it has to do with creating a program that comes close to what the Academies advocated in their position paper; and also, a lot of its success is due to just avoiding most of the major mistakes made by DU which ended up alienating both faculty and students.

    At Nanopolitan itself, you will find quite a few posts talking up such a program; some of them are from 2006!