"The laptops were distributed to the FYUP students as they were needed to meet the demands of that curriculum. Now that the curriculum has been rolled back and we are again back to the three-year programme based on rote learning, the laptop distribution isn't needed," said SC Jain, Principal of Sri Ram College of Commerce.
With an aim to make better use of technology in the revamped and lengthier undergraduate programmes under the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), DU had last year invested a large sum to purchase laptops for the first-year students to help them complete the project work of the foundation courses.
The laptops were given to the students on the condition that they would be returned to the college at the end of the year although it was left to the college administration to decide whether it wanted the students to deposit some security money before issuing the laptops.
The laptops were even insured under a scheme of State Bank of India to ensure that neither the students nor the college would have to suffer in case a laptop was lost or damaged.
However, the question whether these laptops will be reallotted to the next batch of students or be sent back to DU is still wrapped in confusion due to the absence of any official communication from the university.
"Nearly 50,000 laptops were distributed to the students along with about 1,000 for the teachers. It was a wonderful initiative and it garnered good response from the students as it came as a boon for thousands who could not otherwise afford a laptop," says DU's media coordinator Malay Neerav.
"I agree the laptops were distributed keeping in mind the technological needs of the learning-centric curriculum under the FYUP and now we are back to the teacher-centric blackboard method of learning; but I believe we should utilise them since money has already been invested," he added.
According to Pratibha Jolly, Principal of Miranda House, the question of laptop distribution should have no connection with the issue of FYUP rollback.
"Whether students get it under a four-year programme or a three-year structure, a laptop is a laptop and will be as useful as it would have been in the earlier programme," she said.
"Though there has been no official communication from the DU administration, we are considering reallocating them to the freshers. However, a final decision will be taken in a period of 10 days," she added.
Jaswinder Singh, Principal of SGBT Khalsa college, said, "We are mulling making the laptops available in a library like set-up where the students can get it issued for say a fortnight and use it for completion of their projects, but the university has to give its nod to this arrangement."
Principal of Satyawati evening college, Satyendra Kumar Joshi, too, said he was for the laptops being reallotted.
"We are yet to take a decision and we have no idea whether DU will be sending more laptops or not. But I will be writing to the university to get clarity on this and I believe since the campuses are wi-fi enabled and all technology is available, we should let our students make best use of it, " he said.