In an attempt to innovate, the University of Madras has decided to offer a post-graduate diploma programme free of charge along with the post graduate degree offered in its departments from the coming academic year.

Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam said PG students would have to compulsorily clear 12 credits, as part of the core credits for the degree, to obtain the PG diploma that would enhance their employability.

As most of the students at the university were first generation graduates, the syndicate had decided to offer additional skills through industries to add value to the PG degree. For instance, students of M.A. Tamil would obtain a diploma certificate in journalism. Similarly, each department has come up with job-oriented, subject-relevant programmes to complement their study. The programmes would find mention in the prospectus.

The university has decided to reintroduce the four-year B.Com (Honours) degree. The programme would blend theoretical knowledge with practical orientation. Colleges with ‘A' accreditation from NAAC could apply till May 31 for starting the course. Only ten colleges would be allowed in the first year and each batch would have only 30 students.

The university has identified companies in sectors such as banking, insurance, chartered accountancy, consulting, retail, IT and so on. The colleges would have to enter into an agreement with the companies to offer industrial training to the students enrolled for the course, he said.

To end the impasse in appointing qualified faculty in about 190 affiliated institutions, including arts and science colleges, stand-alone colleges offering MBA, MCA and research institutions, Mr. Thiruvasagam said the syndicate has decided to regularise the services of existing faculty as per the UGC qualification norms of 2003, 2006 and 2009.

Colleges would be asked to submit details of staff with the regularisation committee to be set up to grant approvals for qualified staff. New appointments should necessarily have a NET / SLET or Ph.D as per the latest UGC norms, he said. For courses like, computer science, mass media, journalism, management, electronic science, hotel and catering management, interior design, bio-technology, bio-informatics, physical education, library science and English, the faculty would have to obtain necessary qualifications within one year, he emphasised.

All arts and science colleges should appoint principals and standalone institutions should have directors by the end of June as per the norms, without which affiliation would not be granted hereafter, Mr. Thiruvasagam cautioned. The university would start 10 new PG programmes, including M.Tech. Geo Informatics, M.A in International Relations, South Asian Studies and M.Sc in Toxicology and Yoga. M.Phil programmes would be offered in International Relations and Political Science.

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