On June 19, arts and sciences colleges will reopen for second and third year students. Principals of aided autonomous colleges are clueless about the Higher Education department’s decision to introduce common syllabus.
The department announced a couple of months ago that all colleges in the State will follow one syllabus as opposed to autonomous colleges designing their own unique syllabus.
Under the new scheme, colleges will have the autonomy to modify 25% of the course. The decision was taken to help students move from one college to another, if they wished, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy had said. The Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (Tansche) has been given the task of developing the common syllabus.
Soon after the announcement, autonomous colleges expressed their reservation. College principals say usually changes are introduced in first year and the affiliating university sends a circular instructing colleges on the decision. So far, colleges in Chennai have not heard from the University of Madras, the affiliating body.
Autonomous colleges have registered their concern with the council and the department but have not heard from them yet.
They point out that students select a college based on the subject and the opportunities to develop in the chosen field. “We have struggled very hard to introduce changes and build our reputation as specialists in a particular stream of study or the way we prepare students,” says the principal of a Chennai college.
P. Wilson, principal and secretary of Madras Christian College, says: “The salient feature of the autonomous syllabus makes our students industry ready. Experts from various industries, experienced academics from reputed institutes are consulted while framing the syllabus.” All this will be lost if a common syllabus is introduced, he says.
T. Veeramani, president of the Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers Association, who is also the principal of Government Arts College, Coimbatore, says colleges have received circulars to implement the common syllabus.
“I am on the syllabus board. The common syllabus for my subject, Psychology, is absurd. It is at least 10 years old. I have registered my dissent with Bharathiar University and suggested that the Council revisit the syllabus,” he says.
The council must involve subject experts before framing the syllabus, he says. “Every university should be given a set of subjects and the council should ask the universities to constitute a committee of subject experts for each subject. There should be workshops so that experts can discuss how the syllabus should be framed,” he says.
According to him, the association members have registered their reservations with the Bharathiar University, Bharathidasan University and Periyar University.
“We have urged the council to revise the syllabus and send it next year. In its current form, it will only bring bad name to the government,” Mr. Veeramani says.