Calcutta University (CU) is ready to take the reform route. Officials on Wednesday said they would introduce “modern syllabi” in the science, humanities and commerce streams in the next academic year.
Suranjan Das, pro vice-chancellor overseeing CU’s academic affairs, said a “huge exercise” to remodel the syllabi of all 32 under-graduate courses is complete. “You can say we are now ready with modern, contemporary syllabi, which can be introduced from the 2003-04 session,” confirmed Das.
Stung by the criticism from affiliates like Presidency College, that they were losing meritorious students due to an “outdated syllabi”, CU officials said the thrust of the revised format would be on “teaching new topics or handling old ones with a modern approach”.
According to sources, the move to introduce the new syllabus was hastened after Presidency principal Amitava Chattopadhay took out an advertisement in some dailies, announcing that a number of seats in the college were lying vacant. Several Presidency College teachers alleged that meritorious students were choosing Jadavpur University (JU), where a more modern syllabi and examination system were in place.
CU will also soon launch a survey to examine the demands of high-scoring students and the steps that can be taken to stop them from opting for other universities. There are reports that, on an average, a few hundred of CU’s best either join JU or seek admissions in other states.
A proposal to overhaul the entire exam system and introduce modern techniques of evaluation is also being studied. Every year, more than 40,000 students graduate from nearly 200 colleges under CU. “Steps like changing question patterns and introducing question banks will also be taken very shortly,” assured Das.
Calcutta University had recently launched an elaborate exercise to overhaul the syllabi of its under-graduate courses, in response to a circular issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The deadline set by the UGC for completing the syllabus-reform process was July 31. But the new syllabi could not be introduced this year, as the necessary groundwork had not been done. Now, with Presidency College blaming student exodus on the CU syllabus, officials have decided to ensure that the changes are introduced next year.
Admitting that JU scored over CU in terms of infrastructure and teacher:student ratio, Das, however, claimed it was unfair on the part of Presidency teachers to blame the CU syllabus alone for the loss of meritorious students to the rival varsity. He suggested that Presidency conduct a “self-appraisal” to find out why students were shying away from the premier institute.