The University of Mumbai (MU) has decided to introduce Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS), which allows students to study subjects across disciplines, in the post-graduation courses from the coming academic year. CBCS is a common practice of the universities in United States and other western universities.
The decision was taken at a recent meeting of the varsity academic council. The varsity is likely to implement CBCS in the undergraduate programme as well, although the council is yet to take a final decision in this regard.
University Grants Commission (UGC) had recommended the universities across the country to bring in CBCS. Besides, a perspective plan for higher education in the state, prepared by committee educationist Narendra Jadhav emphasised the need of inter-disciplinary studies.
“We live in an inter-disciplinary world. None of the world’s problems can be solved by studying only one discipline.That’s the reason, we want students to study various subjects,”, Vivek Belekar, an assistant professor from MU’s psychology department.
The university is planning to introduce CBCS in its UG and PG programmes in a phased manner. While, the current batch of students will continue to study as per the present curriculum, the students who will be admitted in the academic year will be able to choose subjects outside their area of expertise.
According to a member of the academic council, the university is planning to change the syllabus of all the programmes in order to allow implementation of CBCS. “During first year of the undergraduate courses, the students will have to study subjects belonging to their own field. However, in the subsequent years, they will be able to earn credits by taking up subjects from other departments as well,” he said.
The university has already moved from marking system to a credit-based grading system. But, allowing students a ‘choice’ to pick subjects will require more preparation.
“While, the UGC has released some guidelines on implementing CBCS, the university may not be able to adopt them completely as we have a semester pattern in place. Managing the logistics of implementing choice-based system will be a challenge,” said Belekar.
On the initial level, the university has created a ‘basket’ of subjects from different departments. The post graduate students opting for an inter-disciplinary course will be able to pick subjects from this ‘basket’. More such baskets may be created in the future.
Not all are convinced on the need to bring CBCS to the Indian universities. Gopakumaran Thampi, principal, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, suggested that the CBCS is not aligned with the realities of Indian educated system and even the market requirements.
“Majority of the students in India don’t perform well even when it comes to subjects from their own areas of expertise. Besides, here’s a huge gap between the curriculum taught in the universities and the practical life. Instead of bringing CBCS, the varsity must address these fundamental issues,” he said.
Thampi suggested that MU and UGC are merely trying to ape the west when it comes to reforming higher education. “Perhaps, the move is aimed at easing the entry of foreign universities in India,” he said.