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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Jury still out on mandatory foundation

Mallica Joshi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 07, 2013
First Published: 23:47 IST(7/5/2013) | Last Updated: 23:49 IST(7/5/2013)

With the new four-year undergraduate programme starting in two months, there has been a big debate around the compulsory foundation courses and their desirability. Nothing, however, has been said about the content. HT reveals what each course entails. (A few changes may be made after the conclusion of the Academic Council meeting).
 
Hindi (Language, Literature and Creativity)
The course intends to use literature on social problems to raise awareness among students about ‘national challenges’ such as economic development, energy and gender.

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The course aims to make students comfortable with using Hindi on a daily basis. It will use tools such as project work, group discussions and presentations to help students gain familiarity with the language.
Suggested projects: Role of movies in development of Hindi, language in radio and television, Devnagri script in age of text messages and the emerging image of women in today’s advertisements. 

IT
The course is aimed at educating those who do not have exposure to computers. The course is very basic in nature and will familiarize students with handling information, document preparation, internet security and information resource systems.

Some have criticised the course, calling it too pedestrian and basic as it involves teaching students how to use a scanner, bluetooth technology and keyboard shortcuts.  

Projects: Using projectors, creating a personal weblog, making college website more useful.

Science and Life
The course aims at teaching students basic scientific concepts and theories such as origin and evolution of life, water and energy (environmental and public health concerns), industry and technology in daily life and nutrition. It aims to show students the changes science has brought about.
Suggested projects: Space missions, survey of hard and soft water, testing water impurity and reusing or harvesting water.

English (Language, Literature and Creativity)
The course aims to teach students how to use the language effectively and how grasp on language can aid analytical skills. The texts focus on nature, environment, tribal literature, sports, films and gender. The readings include interviews with sportsperson Milkha Singh and articles printed in journals.  

Suggested projects
Developing skits, English listening skills and an exercise called ‘Be the teacher’.

Mathematical ability
The course deals with data and building comfort in dealing with numbers. The course includes data analysis, logic, prime numbers and their properties and risk prediction. The course stays away from lengthy equations and theorems and focuses, instead, on making students more comfortable in data analysis and interpretation.
Project work: Studying games that use probability, weather patterns from atmospheric data and studying migration patterns.

Indian History and Culture
The course talks about identifying roots of contemporary problems. It aims to discuss historical themes behind traditions and practices, including gender inequality. The course revolves around themes of environment, culture and traditional practices, urbanisation, social inequality, heritage and culture. A criticism has been that no one from the department of history was consulted while making the syllabus. 

Projects: Art form analysis, tribal/rural community interaction and history of Mumbai train system


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