The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CU softens on new courses

Setting aside its conservative approaches in post-graduate education, Calcutta University (CU) plans to introduce a greater number of spin-off courses in conventional subjects.

The university is contemplating a string of new masters’ degree courses, including applied geography, applied economics and applied geology.

Sources in CU say for the proposed courses, students will have to pay higher fees than they pay for existing ones, like geography, economics and so on. The new courses will be self-financed, and the government will not provide any additional funds to CU for running the courses, not even for teachers’ salaries.

Till last year, CU maintained a strong stand on continuing its practice to offer only conventional master’s-degree courses, in the face of an increasing demand from students for spin-off courses. Its reluctance led to many high-performing students leaving the state to take admissions in institutions where such courses had been introduced years ago.

The demand for these courses has increased among students over the years because other well-known campuses outside Bengal, like Jawaharlal Nehru University, had introduced them several years ago. Students feel a degree in these courses increases job opportunities.

Sources in CU, however, say that apart from retaining meritorious students, the authorities have another motive in adopting the present move. According to them, the new courses are aimed at making room for the increasing number of honours graduates in the post-graduate level.

At present, there is an acute scarcity of seats in all post-graduate courses. The crisis is rising with the larger number of under-graduate pass-outs every year. “We want to offer new courses because we need to diversify post-graduate education. The diversification can solve the seat scarcity faced by the students at the post-graduate level,” said Suranjan Das, CU pro vice-chancellor (academic).

According to Das, the fee structure and other details of the new courses will be decided later.

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