Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE) has decided to form ‘State Integrated Boards of Studies’ in eight knowledge areas from 2013-14 to coordinate with the boards of studies of all UG and PG courses in all universities in the State.

The knowledge areas constitute Biological and Bio-technological Science, Mathematical Sciences, Psychical Sciences, and Chemical Sciences, Computer Science and Information Technology, Managerial and Business Sciences, Social Science, Humanities, and Languages.

The integrated boards would periodically review components concerning the curricular policy and formulation of academic programmes in line with UGC guidelines, and network expertise in universities to design courses that meet the needs of students, according to a document that the TANSCHE has circulated among all universities and colleges.

Towards evolving perspective plans for promoting excellence in higher education, the TANSCHE has advised universities to revamp curriculum development process. The council has suggested changes in the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), examination system, and language teaching strategies for implementation in 2013-14.

Proposals for a new approach were arrived at by TANSCHE after consulting vice-chancellors, directors of curriculum development cells, controllers of examinations, and chairpersons of boards of studies in 2012-13.

The document states that for designing the relevant curricula, a curriculum development cell has to be equipped with a web portal, video conference and database facility. Every March, the director of curriculum development cell is expected to send a report to TANSCHE.

Taking cognisance of discrepancies among universities in the implementation of CBCS introduced four years ago, the TANSCHE preferred ‘learning outcome’ over ‘contact hours’ for assigning credits, reasoning out that the workload was based on the investment of time in ‘learning’ rather than in ‘teaching’. All the State universities have agreed to consider the global standard of ‘one credit equals 25-30 hours’ approximately to assign credits for core, allied, elective, non major elective and skill-based subjects.

For examination reforms, the TANSCHE lays emphasis on timely publication of results: second week of January for the odd semester examinations (During November-December), and second week of June for Even Semester (April-May). As a way of preparing students for competitive examinations, the pattern of question paper has been revised to have 40 per cent objective-type questions and 60 per cent detailed and descriptive questions. At PG level, 10 out of the 40 per cent objective type questions would be allotted for questions requiring logical reasoning to develop their competency for attempting competitive exams.