Multi-disciplinary approach will give them more sheen
Conventional undergraduate courses in subjects such as physics and maths, which have been losing their sheen in recent years, have got a new lease of life after the University of Madras re-introduced them with a multi-disciplinary approach.
It was in July this year that the University's Syndicate approved introduction of new programmes in 130 affiliated arts and science colleges. Since then, the University has received 41 applications from various colleges to start one or even more of these courses, which if approved by the university, will be launched from the coming academic year.
At least seven colleges wish to start B.Sc. Physics with Computer Applications, while six want B.Sc. Maths with Computer Applications. The B.Com honours programmes, which is being revived by the University with industry-institute integration after nearly two decades, is among the most popular programmes. Eight colleges have applied for it.
The inspection committee of the university will visit the college campus, ensure that the institutions have the required infrastructure, library facility and qualified faculty members. If the colleges fulfil these requirements, they would be recommended to the affiliation committee and syndicate for approval. “In spite of the constant reminder, many colleges that have applied have not appointed qualified faculty members for their existing programmes. Applications of such colleges will not be entertained,” said G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras.
Some years ago, the university introduced multi-disciplinary course in commerce stream which received a good response. Revamping courses in pure science is also aimed at reviving their popularity.
The need to introduce courses that can enhance the employability of students seems to reflect in the applications. Most employers look for English proficiency, computer knowledge and an additional aptitude. The new courses are considered ideal for enhancing these skills,” says G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras.
These courses can either be introduced as a separate programme or can replace the pure science programme, he said. This has come as a relief to colleges that are struggling to fill the seats for the conventional courses such as B.Sc. Mathematics and B.Sc Physics.
With many colleges struggling to fill seats in pure science, these new multi-disciplinary courses have raised expectations of college managements.
“Ten years ago, the demand for courses like B.Sc Mathematics was so high that we opened two more sections. But recently we are unable to fill up even one section. We hope that the new course will draw more students to take up mathematics,” says R. Srinivasan, associate professor, Department of Mathematics, A. M. Jain College, Meenambakkam, which has also applied for the course.
Arts and humanity
The popularity of arts and humanities courses, however, seems to be waning. B.A. English Literature and B.A. Psychology are the only two courses for which colleges have applied. But there are no takers for subjects such as B.A. History.
Very few government colleges have shown interest in new courses. Quaid-e-Millath College for Women is an exception. It has sought permission to introduce postgraduate course in Tamil Literature.