Senior academics from some of India's leading universities, including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia and Delhi University, came together on Thursday to strongly oppose the government's proposed reforms in higher education including standardisation of syllabi, arguing that these changes would turn colleges into coaching centres.
The government plans to reform higher education through the Choice Based Credit System and the proposed Central Universities Act that will require the 51 central universities to follow a common admission procedure and common syllabus. The changes also envision transferable faculty and student mobility through credit transfers.
Academics for Creative Reform, an informal collective, presented a position paper on higher education at a press conference held here and was addressed by historian and JNU professor Romila Thapar, Delhi University Teachers Association head Nandita Narain and Jamia professor Farida Khan among others.
Dr. Thapar said we have become used to a situation in the country where various authorities held forth on professions like education without actually consulting the professionals involved. She strongly opposed the government's idea of standardising and centrally controlling the quality of education, pointing out that this would be a mammoth and unnecessary task.Shortage of teachers
“How will this high standard be maintained with the continuing shortage of teachers and what will it mean for the quality of education if universities are not allowed to come up with their own syllabi?” she asked.
She argued that standardised syllabi would lead to lack of academic rigour and originality.