With most students looking seriously at options after graduation, colleges in Delhi University have focused on "add-on" courses for the past few years. Designed to give students an edge in the fiercely competitive job market by equipping them with skills that they may not get with an honours or integrated programme, add-on courses are the new buzzword on the campus.

Covering a whole range of subjects from the much-in-demand mass communications -- on offer by many colleges -- to the booming aviation industry, nano-technology and even languages, there is a lot of choice for students.

Ramjas College, one of the first few colleges to jump on to the add-on course bandwagon, has very interesting short-term add-on courses. While it is not expanding its list this year, the college claims that it still provides the best value for money.

Geared to give students an understanding of the fast changing world, the courses examine this new situation academically. Some of the courses on offer are Peace and Conflict Resolution; India in the Era of Globalisation; Gender: Analysis and Interrogation; Women and Empowerment; Mathematics Skills and Everyday Life Problems.

"Our courses are very cost-effective. We charge a fee of Rs. 2,000 per course. Most other colleges charge Rs. 35,000 for the same courses," says Ramjas Principal Rajendra Prasad.

Hoping to do more than just add to the lives of students in other ways than academic, Hindu College has got acting skills as a course. There are also Mass Media and Electronic and Computers for Chemists on their list.

Bharati College in West Delhi has also got three new certificate courses on offer. Leading the list is the much sought after course in Journalism and Mass Communication. There will Broadcast Journalism and Advertising and Public Relations. These courses are structured so that there is a lot of emphasis on practical training so that students get experience that is needed in this field. Not only looking at the crowded television scenario, there will be focus on radio with the mushrooming of FM channels.

One of the oldest women's college on the campus, Miranda House has also got several career-oriented certificate courses for students who want to jump straight into a job after their graduation. The courses on offer are Tourism, French, German, Spanish and Russian. There are also one-month intensive courses in collaboration with the School of Convergence in film appreciation, photography, print journalism and television journalism.

Standing apart in the list of short-term courses is Kamala Nehru College's Disaster Management. The course that is being done with the help of Home Guards, will give students practical knowledge on how to handle such situations.

Sri Venkateswara College has come up with three-month part-time courses in Bio-informatics and Computational Biology, Mass Communication and Personality Development.

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Looking seriously at drama, Lakshmibai College has tied up with the National School of Drama for its new paper on "Theatre and Performance". Giving third-year students in the restructured B.A. Programme more job-oriented options, the college also has introduced Nutrition and Health, Creative Writing, Tourism, Banking and Insurance and Computer Application. College publicity officer Dr. Sajoj Gulati said a new course on Apparel Design has also been launched.

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The University Grants Commission has exempted candidates with Ph.D. degrees from taking NET (National Eligibility Test) to teach at the under-graduate or post-graduate level.

The exemption is also for candidates with M.Phil. degree, but only to teach at the undergraduate level. The far-reaching decisions are bound to trigger a heated debate in the days and weeks to come.

Mandira Nayar

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