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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Campus Calling: Armed with autonomy, how Pune’s colleges are educating the student interface

In 2018, two colleges in the city, Sir Parshurambau College (SP) and Modern College were awarded the autonomous status

pune Updated: Nov 15, 2019 16:32 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Fergusson College, was awarded autonomy status three years ago
Fergusson College, was awarded autonomy status three years ago(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Armed with autonomy, colleges in the city, are gaining full control of their destiny and of their students. Academically, it is free to introduce new courses and programmes and review, restructure and redesign the existing ones.

In 2018, two colleges in the city, Sir Parshurambau College (SP) and Modern College were awarded the autonomous status. Whereas, Fergusson College, was awarded this status three years ago. College of Engineering Pune (COEP) and Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) are also autonomous. Hindustan times takes a look at how the students and college have benefitted post the autonomous status.

Beneficial for students

For SP College it has only been a year since they received the autonomous status and principal Dilip Sheth calls it a slow transformation. “Post the autonomous status, the work has increased as we are introducing new subjects in the syllabus. We have changed 20 per cent of the syllabus. We have replaces archaic subjects like electronics with nano technology and data sciences. This has given students confidence and have also brought them at par with the changes in the profession of their choice,” said Sheth.

For Ravindra Pardeshi, principal, Fergusson College, there is quite a difference in students post the autonomous status. “With academic autonomy, you get to change the syllabus and adapt different methods of learning which keep the students involved. Students are now getting hands-on training and are interacting with industrial experts, which is inturn beneficial for them.

Darwil Agarwal, a third year physics student, said, “When I was in the first year I had a very rigid syllabus. The syllabus now, post the autonomous status is interesting. There is a different examination pattern. I submitted a detailed project for my internal examination, which was much more useful than the traditional way of writing examinations. The students are now getting involved and have creative educational space.”

Teachers get to design their own syllabus

“With the autonomous status, the teachers have the liberty to design their own syllabus and method of teaching. Teachers in our college have started evaluating students on the basis if projects, presentations and group discussions. This keeps the students involved. We also have regular field visits,” said Samir Terdilkar, co-ordinator, Internal Quality Assurance Cell and Science professor at Fergusson College.

Ashok Chaskar, head of the English department at SP college has edited and introduced a special text book combining English literature and communication skills. “The emphasis should be on student-centric learning and not teacher-centric. The approach used in autonomous colleges helps the students to be creative and encourages the student. This book is designed to make students work -ready.”

According to Nitin Kulkarni, vice-principal, Science, Fergusson College the autonomous status is a win-win situation for students. “Initially, the education system in colleges was focused on teaching methods and now we have modified our methods where the student gets maximum learning. Before they had no choice, nor the flexibility in choosing their subjects, which they do now,” said Kulkarni.