Applying for a biotechnology course in any state university? Worried about the syllabus? Be assured. For, now the subject curriculum will be cleared by a group of experts - professionals, research scholars and professors from the field.
Doing away with the method of bureaucrats clearing proposals for new syllabi, fresh courses and colleges submitted by various state universities, the higher education department has called for outside help.
"The idea is to get a perspective from outside. It will avoid ad-hoc decisions and will also remove the routineness from the job. Otherwise, it is just about clearing files,'' admitted Principal Secretary, higher education, Joyce Sankaran.
According to a recent Government Resolution (GR) issued by the department, the Director of Higher Education will set up a task force of educational experts to look at every new proposal submitted to the department.
The taskforce would then recommend its go-ahead, ideas for the new course or even decide against it.
For instance, approval to a new humanities course could come under the scanner of the expert groups made up of authors, editors and researchers. Many autonomous colleges and universities have been following this practice.
Even the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an independent institution set up by University Grants Commission (UGC) to rate colleges, considers this practice as important criteria.
According to Dr Vasudha Kamat, SNDT University's Distance Education director this is welcome move. "We sometimes change our syllabus for professional courses like instructional design - to design on line teaching sites - every year depending on the inputs given by the prospective employers.'' She added.
However, not all universities look at the government's move favourably.
"I welcome it because it is good to have the state overlooking these decisions. But, I also fear that multiplicity of agencies will lead to further lengthening of the process and even corruption,'' said a senior Mumbai University professor, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.