Maharashtra: Professional course institutes grapple with time crunch to finish syllabus
Delay in admissions to professional courses this year has led to serious trouble not only for students, but also colleges. Colleges have been grappling with separate class and exam schedules for their first-year batches as compared to rest of the batches. However, most regulating bodies have clarified that there will be no condensing of curriculum for the first-year batches, despite most colleges commencing regular lectures only in February, leaving colleges and students with very little academic time to complete the prescribed curriculum.
“Colleges started online classes for their existing students in September-October 2020 whereas classes for first-year batches started only in February. Our teachers have been working non-stop. Now, our concern is that classes for batches other than first-year will end by April, but first-year classes will go on till June-July at least. There’ll be no breather,” said the vice-principal of a city-based engineering college.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which is the regulating body for engineering, pharmacy and management colleges, has clarified that colleges will have to adjust holidays and conduct extra lectures to ensure that the entire portion is covered for first-year batches.
“We have asked colleges to use weekends and extend the academic calendar by a month or so in order to cover the portion. Condensing curriculum is not the solution. Colleges can instead cut-down on vacations as well as try to finish the portion by end of May or June,” said Anil Sahasrabuddhe, director, AICTE. He added that the next academic year might also witness a delayed start because of delays in the current academic year.
Colleges, however, were not impressed. “There are two semesters to cover for the first-year, and with classes beginning only in February, we will be in a position to finish the first semester only by April or May. We don’t know how to finish the curriculum for the entire academic year by June,” said Dr RK Srivastava, professor and head of department at Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship Education (SIMSREE).
Admissions to most professional courses were delayed by a few months this year, first due to the lockdown and then due to a petition filed in the Bombay high court (HC) for clarity on the status of Maratha quota. In December, the registration process for most professional courses including law, engineering, architecture and pharmacy had to be delayed by a few weeks to give students time to make necessary changes to their admission form after the state government decided to continue admissions without the inclusion of the socially and educationally backward class (SEBC) quota.
The worst affected in this lot are law aspirants, admissions for whom are still in the process. The second seat allotment list for law students is scheduled to be released this week by the state common entrance test (CET) cell, and in all probability, regular lectures for first-year law students will not begin until the end of this month.
“There’ll be a good possibility that the first-year batch for the 2020-21 academic year and the next academic year will end up studying together. The state CET cell has made a mockery of the admissions process. To make matters worse, the state government has not raised any concern about the fact that it is March and first-year law students are yet to start lectures,” said Sachin Pawar, president, Student Law Council.