Syllabus, exams in Kerala universities need drastic overhaul, recommends commission

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Kottayam: Universities in Kerala need far-reaching reforms on various aspects, states the report of a state government-appointed commission tasked to suggest ways to reform the higher education sector. It suggested a drastic overhaul of the syllabus and exams while also flagging various shortcomings and proposing new measures.

The commission found out that the applications that reach the universities in Kerala go through 35 sections for perusal before getting approval.

The Mahatma Gandhi University’s campus has just 129 teachers while the Peking University in China has a strong faculty of more than 5,000 teachers, it flagged a glaring mismatch.

The report has around 60 recommendations including the following:
Exams – The current examination system should be replaced. Changes should be made in a way that gauges the student’s knowledge of the subject. The delay in result publication could be avoided if the teachers who teach the subject in the respective colleges do the valuation too.

Syllabus – It requires timely updation and modification.

Teacher appointments – The calibre of the teacher should be given prominence as in the Indian Institutes of Technology. Tenure-based appointments with contracts of up to 5 years should be made. The tenure could be extended after evaluating their performance. The students should evaluate the teachers every year. The teachers who get lesser scores should not be allowed to handle the same course or subjects.

Business and education – The service of experts from various business fields could be utilised in the education sector too. Meanwhile, the teachers should be granted sabbatical holidays to allow them to work in the business sector for the duration.

Internship – Internships should be made mandatory for the students in their respective fields.

Research and funding – Financial assistance should be ensured from the business sector to fund research programs. The teachers should take the initiative to attract such funding. Patents should be secured as soon as they complete their PhD research. After the publication of the patent, the product should be commercialised.

Incubation centres and start-ups – Incubation centres and startups should be started at the universities.

Dual courses – Introduce combined courses by cooperating with foreign universities and colleges. Dual courses that offer a major and a minor degree could be introduced.

Multi-disciplinary courses – The students should get the chance to learn multiple subjects at the same time. The syllabus should be modified to accommodate the latest trends. For example, the students should get a chance to study music, while learning physics.

Employment and education – Part-time jobs for students to help them fund their own education. Students could be appointed in the canteens and libraries of the colleges.  

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