For the first time in its history, the Mumbai university has drafted a syllabus that its students have designed.
The university’s zoology department will use the syllabus for its first-year Bachelor of Science course from the 2015-16 academic year.
The 27-member committee has six students on it, including current undergraduate students, and rank holders from earlier batches. The students suggested adding to the syllabus components such as instrumentation, health and nutrition that could make them industry-ready.
“After graduation, zoology students become either teachers or researchers, said Payal Shah, a student-member of the committee. “We asked for instrumentation to be included, as it will help students get familiar with equipment used in the industry.”
Manisha Kulkarni, a zoology professor and co-convener of the syllabus committee said, “With modern technology making it possible to learn about latest developments in zoology, we felt it would be better if students learn what is relevant, according to them.”
While this is a first for the Mumbai university, the IIT-B has had a system of consulting a student body while framing the syllabus.
Vinayak Dalvie, chairman, board of studies, zoology, said this would be the first time ever that any department in the university is offering a course selected by the students.
“The industry’s changing dynamics prompted us to come up with this initiative for students. The participation of students, along with inputs from experts from the industry helped form an inclusive and employment-oriented syllabus. We will soon incorporate it for the second and third year students as well,” Dalvie said.
The syllabus has also taken into account the 2012 University Grants Commission guidelines asking for animal dissections by UG students to be curbed.
“Considering the UGC guidelines, we have incorporated lessons on bio-diversity and wild life protection to make sure students take this decision in right spirit,” said Anil Singh, convenor of the syllabus committee.
On November 14, at a syllabus pre-amendment meeting, around 120 zoology teachers from various colleges discussed the student-designed syllabus. The draft syllabus will now be sent to the university’s academic and management councils for sanctions. However, committee members said this was only a formality as the university administration is in favour of adopting it.
Other university departments, such as commerce, with its large strength, have decided to follow suit. Madhu Nair, dean of commerce, MU said, “The initiative to create a syllabus considering the views of all its stakeholders, including the students, is commendable and democratic. I am planning to incorporate a similar process for the commerce faculty next year.”