The Times of India | Yogita Rao & Vinamrata Borwankar | TNN | February 24, 2016 |
Mumbai University plans to introduce a one-and-a-half year masters’ programme in addition to the existing two-year course across faculties. If implemented, it will enable students to get employed early, increase enrolment in masters’ programmes, and will also align the programme with the Western PG education system. In its proposal to the University Grants Commission (UGC), the university said the syllabus of the “accelerated” post-graduate programmes will remain the same but the coursework will be completed in 17-18 months by cutting down on the number of holidays. “We are looking at an accelerated form of post-graduation in the university. This will give students a chance to join work in the fourth semester itself. The last semester would include a project which could be work that the student is undertaking at his organization,” said vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh. The university proposes to split the fourth semester into three parts, of which 50% of the credits would entail project work, while the rest will be divided into skill-based and choice-based credits with 25% weightage each.
The accelerated masters, once implemented, will enable students to start their post-graduation in June and complete it by September in the next year. “The UGC requires us to have at least 18 weeks of work each semester. We can accelerate this by shortening vacations. We hope such opportunities will increase the number of students opting for post-graduation from the existing 7% to at least 14%. This will also help us align ourselves with the Western education system, where students complete their masters in a year,” said Deshmukh. The nuances of the programme will be worked out depending on the response from the UGC. University registrar M A Khan said the accelerated masters will be offered in addition to the regular two-year programme.
While an accelerated programme may benefit students, the UGC sanctions only a two-year masters programme. A senior UGC official said no student can be awarded a masters degree without completion of the two-year programme. “We have not seen the proposal yet. We cannot allow any university to run a masters programme with less than two-year tenure. However, if the degree completion certificate is granted only after two years, the Commission may consider the proposal. They can give the statement of marks before two years,” the official added. The proposed format will help students who complete their masters abroad and wish to pursue research in India. “As India recognizes only the two-year masters’ programme, the students who get the degree from other countries are compelled to undertake a bridge course here. Not many universities offer the bridge course here. It, therefore, inconveniences students,” said the UGC official. In the past, Delhi University had to withdraw its ‘four-year’ undergraduate programme, which was not in alignment with the UGC’s prescribed format of three years. The Indian Institute of Science, too, had to change their four-year BSc programme to BSc (research), where one year involves research work by students. – Courtesy