What is the most important factor for any course in any stream? No, it’s not the fee, job prospects or the subjects taught under it, but the student who will look forward to making a career out of what he has learned in the classroom. Bearing this in mind, the University of Mumbai (MU) has decided to allow those pursuing admission to a degree college to not only choose their course, but also their modules and skills, under the choice-based courses from the coming academic year.
So you will now be able to select the papers for your course, which will be split into a core subject, an elective or a minor subject and a soft skill or a foundation subject. The grading system will be based on the number of hours a student puts in for class and field work. For example, according to the UGC guidelines, students could learn chemistry, political science and music at the same time. You could even take a break between two terms and use the collated credits.
“We are planning to implement the new system for courses in the same stream. The plan will be out in the academic council meeting scheduled at the end of this month,” said Madhu Nair, dean of commerce, MU.
“Students should choose their subjects wisely. With subjects of their own choice, students can score better,” said Usha Mukundan, principal, Jhunjhunwala College, Ghatkopar. Riya Savla, a Class 12 student of KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, Vidyavihar, said, “ I plan to take an admission for BA in history and political science course. With the choice-based system, I can study sociology and psychology along with it.”
But it may not be as easy as it sounds. For, the choice will bring along the responsibility of a credit system, under which students will face continuous evaluation through the year. This would be a drastic change for students, as they take only four exams a year in Class 11 and 12. “While introducing the credit system in 2011, we had faced problems over merging of attendance and making changes to the fee structure based on the course. In an affiliated-college system, it becomes difficult to attain uniformity,” said Nair.
Academicians say that students need not worry about the new system. “The credit system has been in place for the past three years,” said Mukundan.
Autonomous colleges in the city such as St Xavier’s College and KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce have already started offering choice-based courses for degree colleges. “With the credit transfer system, many students from the science stream have started opting for a subject from arts. They can score well if the subject is of their interest,” said Anita Rane- Kothare, head, Ancient Indian Culture department, St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao said,
According to the HRD ministry guidelines, the credit system will make it easier for students to switch between jobs and education. “It will give students the flexibility to get hands-on experience in their field and later get back to education if necessary. However, if we want to compete with the global universities with the help of choice-based credit system, we should resolve the glitches in the pre-examination process and declaration of results in state universities,” said GT Thampi, principal, Thadomal Shahani College of Engineering, Bandra.