There may not be too many options for students applying for short-term and add-on courses in Delhi University (DU) this year, as a committee has come up with recommendations that may force colleges to be more transparent and also limit the number of such courses offered by them.
“The committee was set up to look into the arbitrary ways in which colleges started short-term courses to attract students at the beginning of each academic year,” said a senior professor and member of the committee.
“A lot of colleges are offering numerous short-term and add-on courses without proper infrastructure and faculty. When you have so many add-on courses, you take faculty away from regular classes,” said the professor.
The committee has recommended that no college should be allowed to offer more than seven to eight short-term courses and the duration of these courses should not exceed three months. Moreover, the content of these courses should be clearly mentioned in the college website, along with the course fee and its timing. The add-on courses’ faculty should also be mentioned on the website.
The committee has also objected to the high course fee charged by certain colleges. “Colleges offering the same courses are charging different course fee. So it is important to mention if those charging more are offering anything substantial to students or cheating them,” a source said. He added that the courses couldn’t go beyond three months because both students and teachers have to devote time to regular courses.
Many DU colleges offer a number of short-term courses. While Ramjas College offers 26 such courses, Venkateswara College and Gargi College offer four and 12 courses, respectively. Most colleges do not have the faculty strength required to take such courses and outsource them from private institutes. “We invite specialists and also professionals to take classes and pay them according to University rules,” said Rajendra Prasad, Principal of Ramjas College. “A cap should be put on colleges charging amounts ranging between Rs 15,000 and Rs. 30,000. We only charge Rs 2,000 per course," Prasad said.
The committee also pointed out that most colleges did not have the infrastructure for practical work in subjects like media studies, tourism etc. “Certain courses require practical training but students are given only theory classes,” the committee report says.
The Dean of Colleges, Prof Nayanjot Lahiri, said that the committee recommendations would be sent to the Vice-Chancellor and then be placed before the Academic Council.