Autonomous colleges in state face challenges in implementing Indian Knowledge System | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Autonomous colleges in state face challenges in implementing Indian Knowledge System

Sep 25, 2023 12:33 AM IST

However, the absence of specific guidelines for the IKS curriculum has prompted several colleges to integrate yoga as a component of the IKS curriculum. At least six of the 12 colleges in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that HT got in touch with have opted for yoga as part of IKS

Mumbai: While the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 mandates to incorporate Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS), a curriculum promoting Vedic knowledge, in higher education curricula; autonomous colleges across Maharashtra are grappling with the task of implementing it in real time.

Mumbai, India - June 21 2016: Students perform Yoga during International Yoga Day at R.D. National College, Bandra in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - June 21 2016: Students perform Yoga during International Yoga Day at R.D. National College, Bandra in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

Principals from these colleges have expressed reservations about potential cultural challenges and controversies while teaching IKS - in which students will earn two credits.

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However, the absence of specific guidelines for the IKS curriculum has prompted several colleges to integrate yoga as a component of the IKS curriculum. At least six of the 12 colleges in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that HT got in touch with have opted for yoga as part of IKS.

As a result, students from these colleges have to carry their yoga mats thrice in 15 days for practical sessions, in addition to two theory sessions.

A principal from a Goregaon-based college shared, “This academic year is a trial-and-error period for NEP in autonomous colleges. We are not yet prepared for IKS as there are no basic guidelines from the universities. Consequently, we have enlisted the help of an organisation to oversee this curriculum, which encompasses yoga and value education, forming the Indian Knowledge System.”

“Apart from yoga, we plan to introduce some online modules that are available on the Swayam portal run by the central education ministry. But as of now, our primary focus is yoga,” said a principal of a Dadar-based college.

While three colleges of the 12 have yet to finalise their IKS curriculum, two colleges are planning to collaborate with private organisations to formulate and implement the course.

Expressing concerns about external curriculum providers, another principal from a Thane-based college stated, “After the government’s announcement, several private organisations approached us to offer IKS curriculum in our college, charging anywhere from 500 to 1,500 per student. However, I am unsure about the content they provide and who will assume responsibility in the event of misinformation.”

These colleges are now appealing to both the state government and universities to provide clear guidelines for the IKS curriculum. BN Jagtap, education expert and adjunct professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, highlighted the confusion surrounding IKS. “The state government’s curriculum regarding IKS is not sufficiently clear, leaving college professors perplexed. According to the basic guidelines, IKS aims to sensitise students about the knowledge that India has historically acquired and will continue to acquire in the future,” said Jagtap. “With a civilisation spanning more than 3,000 years, there are established systems that must be imparted to students.”

Emphasising the need for clear objectives to teach IKS, Jagtap added, “Otherwise, it may end up as a yoga class, which is not the intended outcome.”

Shailendra Deolankar, director of higher education, said solutions are in progress. “Autonomous colleges are tasked with designing their IKS curriculum this year, but the government is also exploring options. Discussions are underway with six renowned institutions to create online videos for IKS, and an online curriculum will soon be made available.”

Amid these challenges, some colleges have adopted an innovative approach and designed the IKS curriculum. At Sathaye College, Vile Parle, IKS encompasses the contributions of Indian scientists and mathematicians and an understanding of botany, zoology, geometry, town planning, and water conservation in India.

“Additionally, we are teaching students about grammar and lexicography in India. To facilitate learning, we have divided the curriculum into 30 lectures and instructed our teachers to record their lectures for future reference so that they do not feel the burden of teaching IKS,” said Madhav Rajwade, college principal. “We are also planning to take the exam in the form of multiple-choice questions.”

HSNC University, a cluster university in the city, has also designed a special curriculum for IKS that includes ancient Indian culture and science. “The curriculum includes subjects like humanities, science, culture, history, mathematics, and music. Health and wellness are also part of our IKS curriculum. The motive of IKS is to sensitise students about Indian knowledge,” said Hemlata Bagla, vice chancellor of HSNC University.

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