People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 25

June 23, 2013


Women’s Organisations Oppose FYUP



The National Women’s organisations - All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM),  All India Democratic Women’s, Association (AIDWA), All India Women Conference (AIWC),  Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), Guild of Service (GOS), Joint Women’s Programme ( JWP),  National Federation Of  Indian Women (NFIW),  and Young Women’s Christian Association of India (YWCA) have jointly issued the following statement on June 20, 2013


The above mentioned women’s organisations are deeply concerned about the three year undergraduate programmes at Delhi University being replaced by a Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) with multiple exit points with such unseemly haste, and without taking note of the various issues raised by the different sections affected by this change. This undemocratic approach threatens to compromise the interests of young women who today are in fact the majority of those wishing to graduate from Delhi University.


The FYUP has drawn criticism from a wide spectrum of people from within and outside the university on many counts. The authorities have displayed an unfortunate lack of sensitivity to the objections being raised. Instead of addressing the numerous questions raised, and bringing on board the academics and the teaching professionals with years of experience, the authorities are forcing a historic transformation which will have irreversible ramifications for a new generation of students, and set a very bad precedent for the rest of the country. This is highly unacceptable from a democratic government accountable to its people.  


Women’s organisations wish to point out that the implications of such a change for the marginalised sections of society must be taken into consideration before implementing this decision.

In a country where gender discrimination is rampant, and a large section of girls are still outside the educational system, with higher education witnessing a sharp drop out rate, it is disturbing that the UPA-2 is backing a so called "reform" which will make it more difficult  for women to get a good quality public-funded education. Even at existing costs, one extra year in the capital city will require additional resources, and would thus reduce access to higher education for many. The additional year has been estimated as costing every student another 1.5 lakhs rupees in living and study costs, beyond the tuition fees.


The decision to provide multiple exit points would certainly have a negative impact on women’s education, as many families would prevail on their daughters to drop out with a mere two year diploma. This trend would ensure that only the already privileged will reach the last stage of getting an Honours degree. Women students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, ST, SC, and OBC students and those from rural backgrounds will be the most affected, thus also aggravating inequalities when higher education is meant to ameliorate them.


The structure of FYUP is also fundamentally flawed as it makes 11 Foundation Courses compulsory irrespective of the streams (Arts, Science, Commerce) students may be coming from. These FCs include modules on Maths, Science, Hindi, English, Geography, and Commerce, with  extra stress on project work and field work. The realities of this nation are that many students have already chosen specific streams from class ten, with the more privileged students being aided with private tuitions for subjects like science and mathematics.  These compulsory courses are therefore going to be barriers for many, and the worst affected would be women students from deprived sections.

We note with dismay that the fallout of this move could be more extensive, as the UGC Advisory Committee on FYUP is being used to promote FYUP in other universities.


Women’s organisations demand an immediate halt to this programme, given its serious repercussions for over 50,000 students this academic year. Such an important decision with nationwide consequences cannot be taken without an informed and widespread debate at the national level.