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Nep 2020: 12 autonomous colleges affiliated to Mumbai University awarded empowered status

National education policy 2020 will bring the desired change of empowering the youth of India with the right skill and degree only if this freedom given sets the stage for disruptive changes in higher education sector. Mumbai being the financial capital of the country, any change arising in the corridors of a Mumbai college is likely to be referred to elsewhere in the country. This article clearly analyses the steps to be taken by the 12 colleges in order to utilize the freedom given for the benefit of the society at large.

Ushering in an era of revolutionary change in the educational landscape of India,12 autonomous colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University have been given the status of Empowered Autonomous College. These colleges can now award joint degrees with Mumbai University, meaning the degrees will have the college’s name and logo along with that of Mumbai University.

This takes them a step closer to becoming degree-awarding institutions. Maharashtra state government initiated the process via notification dated May 22, based on the provision for this in Maharashtra Universities Act 2016.

St. Xavier’s College, JaiHind, Ramnarain Ruia College, Mithibai College , K J Somaiya College of Science and Commerce, SIES College, Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College, Sophia College, Birla College, Nagindas Khandwala College, Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil College and Bhavan’s Sardar Patel Institute of Technology are the colleges who will be able to start their own courses at certificate, diploma, graduation as well as post-graduation level. What does this freedom mean .They can decide the

· fee-structures,

· redesigning courses,

· changing nomenclature of courses,

· formulating evaluation process,

· declaring results and

· issuing mark-sheets among all.

Let us examine each of these in detail to understand how these colleges need to set the bench mark for excellence in HEI .It is changes at the micro level brought

Fee structure: Majority of the fees that any college charges goes in paying the salary of the staff. This needs to continue, but the faculty need to design and deliver a pedagogy that is appropriate for the students that the course attracts and the skills required to excel in the professional career based on the course. A lot of time and effort needs to be put in by the faculty for this and that should define his/her take home pay not the research output or publication index.

A college professor needs to be celebrated for what he/she does to change the life path of their students and may be appreciated for his/her personal credentials. Our current system seems to do the reverse.

Redesigning courses: The most important component of the autonomy. Only if these colleges design and deliver all types of courses that they offer in the correct method so that the desired outcome is achieved the true sense in which NEP 2020 was conceived will not be achieved.

Albert Einstein once said “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing that it’s stupid”. Hence a vocational course leading to a career in the beauty or fashion industry should have 80 percentage practical component and 20 percentage theory.

This means the amount of time a teacher spends in judging the skill of the student needs to be 10 times more than the current system of administering a standard examination for 3 hours .The rest of the curriculum delivery currently is based on delivering lectures about the theory that they can grab from anywhere in the world…thanks to the digital revolution. Why do teachers parrot talk what is available already ,may be in a better format on the internet, make students cramp and sit for 50-60minutes lecture, take attendance and penalize students (and/or parents) for attendance shortage. The learning outcome that can be displayed through this current robust system of taking lectures and maintaining attendance records is “Punctuality” and may be “lowering absenteeism”

A Bvoc course in retail management conducted in one of these 12 colleges has a vocational subject called Store Operations ,which has the following course outcomes:

  • To enable understanding of the basics Store Operations & How Store Manager is a critical link to all activities in the store

  • To enable learning about the essential elements of management i.e. F S’s of Retail store operations.

  • To provide clarity to the students about each function of Store Operations from Store administrative, Merchandising to Customer service.

  • To help students in understanding the integration of individual goals with the organizational goals.

  • To update students with the kind of skills and organization structure and their role in creating a sustainable business.

In order to achieve these outcomes the best possible method would be an internship in a retail store comprising 60%-80 % component while the rest can be through lecturing and discussion of case study method. But currently there is no internship component for this vocational subject and the evaluation is through term end written examination.

Changing nomenclature of courses- The common man and the first time learner in the HEI must be able to match his desires and skills to the courses that require the same.Hence the nomenclature must play it’s role significantly and also the essence of the course must be captured in the brief provided by the college. Fancy words should be replaced with the actual employable, achievable outcomes.

Hence if a one year diploma in professional speaking English is offered by a college it should that at the end of the course “A learner will have the confidence to articulate and speak much better than before”. The curriculum delivery should be such that it gives a lot of practice for speaking to the student and evaluating him on the basis of how he speaks rather than asking questions on grammar and other theoretical stuff.

Formulating evaluation process The most critical component that has direct bearing on the future of the Indian society. Only if students are evaluated by appropriate methods can there be a continuous improvement in the value that they will offer to the profession that they choose to do.

Formulating evaluation process

This something different that our education system needs is the evaluation process. Do away with all the big space and importance given to the exam cell. Like a teacher teaches on a daily basis he/she will evaluate on a daily basis. The amount of time dedicated to active one sided teaching should be divided into 25 % time teaching, 25% percentage time assisted reflection by the student, 25% time peer discussion and 25% time for marking the students based on their participation in the reflection and discussion process. So a teacher handling the subject of sustainability during the class of 90 minutes for a group of 60 students can divide her /his time as follows;

1. Defining sustainability and giving corporate and personal examples of same -10-15minutes

2. Reflection: Students can be asked to express about the sustainable practice that they encountered and they themselves demonstrated or they may demonstrate in future -20-25 minutes .

3.Group discussion on anyone of the topics for a group of 5-6 students – 20-25

  • CSR contribution and sustainability should be linked by the government

  • SDGs are a faux until grass root level intervention is achieved

  • Education is the key to achieving sustainability

(Students should be allowed to use their mobile during activitys)

As activity 2-3 is going on the teacher may mark the students and the rest of the 10 minutes a can be used to motivate the non- starters to contribute

If this exercise is followed by an online submission of what they thing about sustainability as practiced in their society the effectiveness of the subject is more.

It is time to act fast and bring the necessary changes in the pedagogy if the opportunistic demographic dividend presenting itself in front of India has to be capitalized.

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