Mixed response to foundation courses

New Delhi, Aug. 18 -- A group of students bursts into laughter as soon as the teacher asks them if Santa Claus is scarier than a vampire. Students who joined Delhi University this year are being taught these lessons in their language literature and creativity course, a course that a number of students think is too basic for their taste - even when it comes to a 'basic' course.

However, not all students are on the same page. There are others who choose to remain silent when the course is critiqued on its content.

"Everyone has been saying that the foundation courses are too easy. I don't think it is so at all. I can't speak up in class because I don't know any English. I want the foundation courses to go - not because they are easy but because they are too much work for students like me," says Chandrabhushan Kumar, a student of political science at Ramjas College, who went to a government school in Darbhanga, Bihar.

But the problems are not limited to only textbooks and students' interests. Students studying in the most popular colleges are complaining that teachers do not know how to teach the courses.

"The teachers are busy criticising the course in class. They either have no idea how to teach it or no motivation to do so. Most of the class is spent in useless discussions around the bad text or the four-year undergraduate programme," said a student at a prominent south Delhi college.

Hindustan Times spoke to various teachers who said they were not invited for the foundation course orientation at all. Those who were invited said that a two-day orientation was not useful. The demographics of Delhi University are also responsible for the mixed reaction. Of the 60,000 students who took admission in Delhi University this year and are studying the foundation courses, a sizeable number comes from government schools.

According to Kalpana Bharara, principal at Aditi Mahavidyalaya, students in her college are quite comfortable with the foundation courses. The college is located in Bawana and caters to women from villages in the area. "My students do not think that the courses are too easy. They are attending classes and are participating in class activities," she said.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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