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The great education makeover

The state government has asked 14 state universities to revise their syllabi before the start of academic session 2009-10, reports Snehal Rebello.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2009 00:37 IST
Snehal Rebello

It’s going to be one of the biggest education makeovers and every university in Maharashtra will be a part of it.

The state government has asked 14 state universities to revise their syllabi before the start of academic session 2009-10.

It will be applicable for first-year students. As they progress to higher classes, the syllabus revision will continue every year.

The Department for Higher and Technical Education has asked universities to keep certain criteria in mind while upgrading their curricula.

The revision is applicable to both traditional streams like Arts, Commerce and Science and professional ones such as engineering, law and architecture.

While previously the syllabi were designed keeping the needs of the manufacturing sector in mind, the shift today is towards the service sector — retail, IT, aviation and finance, which are generating more jobs than before.

“Syllabi will be revised keeping market needs and employability in mind. It will have to be relevant to students and society and meet the challenges that globalisation poses,” said J S Sahariya, principal secretary. “Our students need to be comparable with those of colleges in other parts of India. For instance, the quality of lessons in commerce at Sydenham College should be equivalent to that of Delhi’s Sriram College.”

The director of higher education along with joint directors will be the nodal agencies to review the revised syllabi.

As far as University of Mumbai is concerned, Vice-Chancellor Vijay Khole said that syllabi revision was a continuous process. “Our faculty constantly identify emerging areas following which we the curriculum is upgraded and new elements are introduced.”

Universities have been instructed not to revise the syllabi based on that of the previous year. It will have to be combination of old theories and practical application courses. Currently, universities revise their curriculum every five years.

“The old syllabus was designed without taking into account the challenged posed by the market. That will change since emerging areas will be incorporated. One third of the syllabi will now have an applied component,” said Vice-Chancellor S B Nimse of the Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University in Nanded. The university has 325 affiliated colleges catering to 1.10 lakh students.

At this university, the revised syllabi will include application-oriented papers on computation math in mathematics, chemical technology in chemistry and biotechnology in life sciences. Introducing foreign languages like Spanish, French and German is also part of the plan.

The government has also asked universities to have some uniformity in syllabi.

Currently, every university designs its own curriculum. As a result, the disparity in subjects makes it difficult for students to transfer from one university to another. “The syllabi differences in universities is mind boggling. Universities will have to bring it to minimum level of excellence,” said Sahariya.