Mumbai University’s autonomous colleges offer wine tourism, astronomy courses
Want to learn about wine tourism, astronomy or forensics? Just browse through the courses offered by the University of Mumbai’s (MU) autonomous colleges.
With the new-found autonomy, several city colleges are introducing new courses such as destination management, bio-composting and film appreciation, so the scope of interesting subjects for degree colleges doesn’t remain limited to Bachelor in Accounting Finance (BAF), Bachelor in Mass Media (BMM) or BA in Culinary Arts and students get to earn credits every semester while learning them.
“Some of these subjects were being offered to students earlier as well and the response was great. This year, we introduced many new programmes, giving students more choices over different semesters,” said Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College, Churchgate.
Matunga’s RA Podar College was awarded autonomy last year, but chose to apply it from 2019-20. The college is using its autonomous status to tweak its programmes to make them more diverse and interesting. “Students have to earn 120 credits over three years and six semesters in order to graduate. We are introducing a few more credits to give students industry-specific knowledge,” said Sobhana Vasudevan, principal.
Apart from academics, the college is also introducing two non-academic and mandatory credits for all students— a life enrichment course and another course in civics. “While the life enrichment programme will be on the lines of value education and cover the mental health of students, the civics course aims to teach environment responsibility to youth,” she said.
Six institutes, under the aegis of Somaiya Vidyavihar, have been granted autonomy. Some of their institutes will offer a one-year (full-time) postgraduate diploma course in solid waste management.
“We have had a student from KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce studying Spanish at the KJ Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies. Another student of Electronics and Telecommunications of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering is studying the science of living and preksha (meditation) from KJ Somaiya Centre for Studies in Jainism. Autonomy enables us to leverage this strength for the benefit of students and society,” said VN Rajasekharan Pillai, provost, Somaiya Vidyavihar.
Extra-curricular learning aside, some courses such as social media marketing, international relations, mutual fund foundation and equity sales certification have been introduced to keep up with the changing demands of job market. “Basic education and degree can’t be our only aims anymore. We need to step up and better our academics to match international standards,” said Rajpal Hande, principal of Mithibai Autonomous College, Vile Parle.
Classes, exams, results made easy
Apart from new courses, autonomy has helped colleges streamline their academic schedule to ensure 90 days for each semester, timely conduct of exams and declaration of results.
SVKM’s Mithibai Autonomous College in Vile Parle has completed exams as well as assessment and is working on introducing online assessment for 2019-20. “We made sure our teachers got the much deserved break from exams and assessment work before the start of the new academic year. Autonomy gives us the freedom to bring in positive changes and it is appreciated by staff as well as students,” said Rajpal Hande, principal.
Malad’s Nagindas Khandwala College introduced online assessment of exam papers and managed to announce its results within 20 days, wherein assessment of more than 27,000 answer booklets was completed. The institute also managed to upgrade the system in a way that teachers could assess papers from home. “The security system is such that teachers will have to match their live photo to assess the paper, to avoid misuse of the system. Everything was smooth sailing,” said Ancy Jose, principal of the college.
Some autonomous colleges are turning the campus greener. “We are trying to cut down on the use of paper, especially during exams. Next year onwards, we will hopefully introduce a system where internal exams are held online,” said Naresh Chandra, principal of Birla College in Kalyan, adding they are focussing on making exams less stressful for students and staff.