Some Comments on the New UGC Proposals

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The proposed plan of UGC looks too ambitious, a childish brain without considering the practical implications of the proposal. I don't think that merely standardization and uniformity of syllabus across universities in India will improve the standard and quality of learning and teaching.

We can design an excellent syllabus or even we can copy and paste the syllabus of top universities of the world, does it mean that the quality of education will improve? Quality of education germinates from quality of teachers and their updated skills and knowledge, quality research and publications. In the age of globalization, there is no denying the fact that English is the only international language for success and prosperity. Without standardization of language of instructions, standardization of syllabus has no meaning .

Take an example of North Indian universities e.g. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana etc where medium of instruction is Hindi. It is estimated that about 35 million students study in Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses with Hindi medium. The standard of education of the millions of students who study in an Indian language depends on the quality of teaching and study material available to them. There are hardly any quality text books available for the teachers and students. Even within a state, there are disparities in the teaching faculty, infra structure and environment for teaching and learning For Example, there are vast differences in the teaching and learning environment among colleges of University of Delhi there are over 80 colleges. Furthermore, there are over 18,000 colleges all over India. It is any body’s imagination whether UGC can really implement a uniform structure of syllabus.

It is no exaggeration to argue that the quality of college and University-level textbooks, particularly in Hindi, are dismally low and of poor quality. Many question their authenticity. Furthermore, many argue that such a sorry state of affairs may ruin the future of students. It is also argued by many that a language to be an effective and meaningful medium of instruction, should have a framework based on an exhaustive standard technical terminologies and should be used uniformly.

Teachers hardly refer to academic or professional journals in updating their teaching skills and knowledge. Teachers hardly teach materials from the original text books or may be unable to understand and interpret properly the concepts from such original textbooks. The quality of books written by many Indian authors are known to us. On the other hand, many universities in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have English as the medium of instruction. Teachers working in such universities may be in a better position to teach uniform syllabus because text books in English language are available. The quality of research also differs among such universities.

Professor Raja Mutthirulandi (http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0106.htm) also raises certain questions and concerns on this proposed uniform system of syllabus . For example, he argues “can the proposal of uniform syllabus provide any embedded guarantee for what actually will be taught, in what order, in what manner, and from what perspective in all universities? Does the proposal for uniform syllabus offer any assurance for uniform quality of teaching everywhere.? “ Furthermore, it is also argued by many that since the landscape of universities” education in India is very broad and heterogeneous and also their potentials and resources significantly vary, the proposed system may not be able to achieve uniform attainment of skills and capabilities among learners.

Therefore, UGC, first has to think about the medium of instruction. This may not be an easy task for it to implement such a system in Social Sciences areas. In case of Engineering and Science, it may be possible. However, 75% of total intakes in all universities study social sciences courses.

What has transpired UGC to introduce uniform syllabus ? If standardizing the syllabus can make universities of world class, then many universities, in Asia and Middle East and Africa, which have their education system based on American universities pattern, would have achieved the status of world class universities? Unless UGC gives high impetus on improving the teaching quality and research publications, all other efforts introduced will be just a drop in the ocean. UGC must introduce very rigorously the teaching evaluation system and improve the quality of conducting examination. Otherwise, it will be simply building castles in the air.

By introducing a uniform syllabus, is the UGC going to prescribe standard and quality text books and getting them translated e.g. in Hindi for universities having Hindi as the medium of instruction?

UGC should encourage and fund for writing high quality textbooks and such books should be subjected to international referring. Only after then books written by Indian authors should be allowed as text books at the undergraduate and post graduate level.

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