New Delhi: International students who have come to study at Delhi University have hailed the transition to the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), saying it helps meet global standards of education and bring DU at par with global varsities.
The university offers five percent reservation to international students in all the courses and has so far hosted students from 50 countries.
"The introduction of the FYUP helps meet the global standards of education because countries like the United States and the United Kingdom also follow the same pattern," Yazen Iskander from Yemen, who is applying for a linguistics course, told IANS.
According to the registry office for foreign students, the university has received around 2,500 applications this year.
Despite the controversy around the four-year programme, which is the brainchild of DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh and has been slammed by the teachers fraternity and student unions, the number of foreign students have not declined.
"There has neither been an increase nor a decrease in the number of applications from foreign students. Till now, we have received 2,500 applications," Veena Mishra, deputy dean in the foreign students registry office, told IANS.
Silavan Souliyalath from Laos, who is pursuing a BA programme at Kirori Mal College, told IANS: "The FYUP is not going to deter students from coming to DU."
"Our country also has the four-year course. It is good. The new curriculum will definitely help the students decide what they want in life," he added.
Delhi University has upgraded its three-year undergraduate programme to four years from the academic session starting in July.
Now students will be required to study 11 foundation courses during the first two years, clubbing together students who seek vocational education with those pursuing pure academic disciplines.
According to DU officials, the course was changed to make it more skill-based and job- oriented.
While a majority of international students applauded the change, some felt the option of not being able to choose the college this time is a slight glitch. Earlier, the students could apply in as many colleges as they wished. But this time round they can apply for various courses, but the university will decide on the college.
"The four-year course curriculum is very good and I am in favour of it, but the university should have given a choice to make college preference. This time you can only choose the course but not college," said Sainyam Khanna, an NRI from Britain and a computer science aspirant in DU.
For some students it is the courses that matter and not the duration.
"I was interested in studying bio-chemistry in DU since my school days so now that I have a chance to study, other factors hardly matter," said Nawang Jigme, 18, a Tibetan, who came to Delhi a few days ago for seeking admission.
The authorities at Delhi University have also taken special measures for international students this year by introducing a part-time English proficiency course so that students with limited proficiency in the language can feel at ease.
"We have introduced the English proficiency part-time course which can be completed in 80 hours by the students, as the lectures in colleges are all delivered in English," Deputy Dean Mishra said.
"As a majority of our international students are from Korea, Tibet and Bhutan they find it difficult to follow what is being taught in English; so considering them the course has been introduced," she added.
The introduction of the four-year course and the inflow of foreign students are also being seen as a great initiative to get Indian universities a global ranking.
"The lack of research and the limited inflow of foreign students have deterred Indian universities from getting a global ranking; so with FYUP and inflow of foreign students it is a positive turn," Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who inaugurated a job fair in the university, told IANS.
For the foreign students, accommodation is not a problem.
The university has two international hostels, one each for men and women. Besides, there are a number of halls of residency and most colleges have their own hostels, the admission to which is based on merit.