Karnataka students up in arms over restriction in choosing open elective

The circular was issued by Mysore university on November 24.  

First-semester students of degree colleges affiliated to some universities in the State are up in arms over the recent circular from varsities restricting their freedom to choose subjects under the “open elective” category as per the New Education Policy.

At the time of admission, the students were told that they could choose any subject of their interest as an open elective. However, the latest circular, issued on November 24, by Mysore university has made it compulsory for students to choose an open elective subject from outside their faculty. The circular says “open elective is an elective course, shall be chosen from an unrelated discipline/subject to study multi-disciplinary subjects”. For instance, a BA student has to choose any one of the subjects offered by faculty of either commerce or science and vice-versa.

NEP promotes an inter-disciplinary approach at the graduation level. In the first four semesters of a degree course, students study two core subjects and one open elective. In the final two semesters, students study only core subjects. A senior professor in a reputed college of Mysore university told The Hindu: “Students had the freedom to choose subjects as envisaged in the NEP at the time of admission. But, now their options have been restricted, contrary to the very idea of open elective.”

Out of interest, a few BSc. and Bcom students had chosen subjects like journalism, public administration, and sociology, which fall under the arts category, as their open elective. Similarly, many had chosen subjects within their faculty as an open elective. “It was purely based on the personal interest of students. But, the latest circular makes it mandatory to choose subjects outside their faculty. A majority of BA students, who have chosen history and economics as their core subjects, want to study either sociology or political science as their open elective, but not physics or accountancy. They have not studied science or commerce since their PU days. How can one expect them to take up those subjects now?” asked another teacher.

Hundreds of students of Maharaja’s College in Mysuru took out a protest on this issue last week. M. Purushottam, a BA student in Hassan, said he had taken Kannada literature and history as his core subjects and he would like to study journalism as an open elective. “But as per the circular, I have to study a science or commerce subject. The government told us that NEP is student-centric and students are free to choose their subjects. Where is the freedom to choose subjects?” he sought to know.

Presently, students who did science in PU were allowed to take up either arts or commerce at the graduation level. But, those who studied arts are not allowed to take up either commerce or science. When such is the scenario, how can a student be compelled to study science stream, asked a student. “Ideally, students should be allowed to choose subjects of their interest and that would serve the purpose of implementing a student-centric policy,” he said.

Meanwhile, B. Thimme Gowda, vice-chairman of Karnataka Higher Education Council, said lecturers have been asked to “counsel” students to pick the third subject from another stream. “However, if the candidate is keen on picking the third subject from the same faculty, they can do so as the objective of NEP is to allow students to make the choice,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 1:25:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-students-up-in-arms-over-restriction-in-choosing-open-elective/article37874598.ece

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