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Cyber law on college course list

New Delhi, June 4: Colleges are offering a host of new undergraduate courses for the 2003-2004 academic year to give students more choice in the curriculum and greater flexibility in the job market.

For instance, students can now do a course on cyber law and policy. According to higher education policymakers, the course is timely and in tune with the rapid growth of Internet and e-commerce. “This has given rise to a new set of legal issues as courts and international bodies are struggling to keep pace with changing technology,” said an official of University Grants Commission .

The course addresses the government’s role in developing these technologies and the legal complexities arising from it. It deals with privacy rights, speech and defamation, and application of copyright laws.

On policy issues, the course offers information on e-mail surveillance, regulation of content, responsibility and liability of Internet providers. “Students are expected to integrate their knowledge of technology with law, politics, economics and international affairs,” said an educationist.

Biological engineering, another new course, includes topics like introduction to biology, bio-chemistry, physiology and genomics. It deals with the chemical engineering aspects of biomedical devices, environmental bio-technology, drug discovery and mammalian cell culture.

A course in advanced digital system design focuses on designing advanced digital logic systems with an emphasis on functional design, layout and floor planning. Economic modelling, yet another new course, will introduce students to econometric modelling as it is applied in social sciences.

However, not all colleges have opted for the courses. “We have not introduced any new courses in Hindu College,” says an official in this college of Delhi University.

Lady Irwin College, the country’s first home science college for women in Delhi, has proposed a new syllabus on community resource management and extension.

For students who have not done so well in their Class XII examinations there are employment-oriented courses like nutrition and health education, industrial relations and personnel management and office management, and secretarial practice.

Both the human resources development ministry and the UGC have called for diversification and expansion of the syllabus to make it more relevant to changing times.

UGC chairperson Arun Nigavekar has said colleges must hire part-time professionals from diverse fields and offer more courses to the students. Teachers’ associations in Delhi, however, are resisting the proposal. But the UGC believes such a re-orientation will give students more flexibility in the job market.

Hema Raghavan, Delhi University’s dean of student welfare, says the certificate professional courses offered with the degree programmes are becoming popular with students.

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