THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The absence of an oriented development exercise is what has hampered the successful implementation of Choice-based Credit and Semester (CBCS) system in many states, said Dr A Gnanam, who was the convenor of the UGC-appointed committee which recommended CBCS to be adopted in Indian varsities.
At a time when the Kerala State Higher Education Council has appointed a committee to review the CBCS system in universities, the man behind the idea asserts that structural changes with proper preparation starting from the department level and going up to the university level, could yield the desired results in the long run.
Dr Gnanam was in the capital to attend the first sitting of the formation of SAAC (State Assessment and Accreditation Council ) modelled on the lines of the NAAC held at the Kerala State Higher Education Council office here on Tuesday.
‘’Whenever new things are introduced, there is a need for development of the existing system which did not happen in case of CBCS. Brochures or pamphlets were not circulated among teachers and students and teachers were not given training prior to the introduction of the new system,’’ Gnanam said.
He reiterated that in a society where the spread of knowledge is growing at a fast pace, CBCS will help turn higher education from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market where students can opt for the combination of subjects they choose to learn. There is an inclination towards traditional disciplines but the need of the hour are inter-disciplinary combinations. Not having adequate choice of combination of disciplines is a problem existing for students throughout India, Gnanam said.
‘’In a department, teachers can discuss what kind of combination and credits they could offer. If ten teachers agree to 30 courses, with each taking up three courses each, imagine the options it would give to a student in the college. This should happen in every department promoting diversity in combinations and things will fall into place,’’ he said.
Gnanam said that the whole essence of semester system was the shift to internal assessment instead of an external one.
When you have 100 courses and 33 teachers, every teacher will not be prejudiced to show bias to the student which is the common allegation against internal assessment, he said. He also rejected the argument that the system was overloading students with more activities in a short span of time.
‘’It is a parallel development of the student that happens. He is free to choose his likes based on his talents,’’ the academician said.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had accepted the A Gnanam committee report on administrative and academic reforms in higher education in 2008 which brought about structural changes in the sector. He was the former Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University and Pondicherry University and had also served as the chairman of NAAC apart from heading numerous committees appointed by the UGC and various governments on educational reforms.