Every Saturday, Apurva Khond, 19, a second year BA student of SIES College (Sion), heads to Crawford Market after attending college, to buy dark chocolate bars.
Khond, a resident of Antop Hill, recently completed the three-day chocolate-making course at the Centre for Excellence in her college, where she learnt to make a variety of chocolates. “I am an expert in biscuit chocolates and can tell the ingredients used in any chocolate from the very smell of it,” said Khond, who has enrolled for the Warli art and pot painting courses, which are being introduced this year at the Centre. “Not surprisingly, there were only girls who took up the course,” she grinned.
For students applying to city colleges, there are opportunities to learn beyond the syllabus. From courses on cartography (study of making maps) to Zen meditation, personal grooming and etiquette to garden craft, colleges are providing value-add courses for their students to pursue in addition to attending lectures.
“As students of chartered accountancy, we are preoccupied with numbers and statistics, giving us very little time to focus on interpersonal and presentation skills otherwise,” said Rochan Maheshwari, 24, who enrolled for the 15-day course in general management and communication skills at the Institute for Chartered Accountants of India. The course includes training in business communication, presentation and interpersonal skills, particularly useful for honing the soft skills of students.
Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in courses that add value to or go beyond existing bachelors or masters degrees. While some of these courses are related or supplementary to course-work, several offer training in vocational and soft skills.
At St Xavier’s College, the department of inter-religious studies has introduced a series of new courses this year, including a course on Rabindranath Tagore to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. “The course deals with understanding his life, teachings and contribution to the arts, his mystic poetry and views on philosophy,” said Father Lancy Prabhu, director of the department.
“We are also organising a short course on writer and philosopher, J Krishnamurti, to help our students find oneness in plurality,” said Father Prabhu.
College authorities believe that giving students the opportunity to learn outside and beyond the classroom only helped them make the right career choices. “Students these days want to study beyond their textbooks. By getting to hone their hobbies inside the college campus, they can save time and money, and spend more time with their college friends,” said Mahalaxmi Nadar, coordinator, Centre For Excellence, SIES College.