While college admissions are still at the initial stages at present, anxieties are running high among students, since they are busy applying to colleges and courses of their choice.

For the current academic year, Mumbai University has introduced around 26 new courses for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Mumbai University

While the university has approved these courses, it is awaiting the final nod from the government. Principals are hopeful that it will bring a change in the choice of courses that students opt for every year.

Many education experts are of the opinion that in this academic year, there is a possibility of change in trends of the courses that students apply for.

For years, unaided courses like Bachelor’s in Mass Media (BMM), Bachelor’s in Management Studies (BMS), Bachelor’s in Banking and Insurance (BBI), Bachelor’s in Accounting and Finance (BAF), and the latest entrant, Bachelor’s in Financial Markets (BFM), have been more popular as compared to Commerce or Arts degrees.

However, of late, college principals are observing an increasing interest for B Com.

Losing its charm?
In the past couple of years, the overall pass percentage in the Arts stream has been declining. In 2013, 40% Arts students in the city had failed their HSC exams.

Educationists blame the decreasing importance of the course, when seen against the demand for Science and Commerce. However, college principals are hopeful that with the introduction of the new courses, Arts may get good response again.

Most Std XII students are applying for more than one course, just to ensure that they don’t miss out on getting into a good college by the end of the admission season.

Some colleges may opt out
Even as many colleges are hopeful that the new courses will give students a range of new options to choose from, some are worried how they will sustain the new course, and have thus decided to give them a miss. Courses like Film, TV and New Media Production, and Culinary Arts will not only require the right faculty, but also the right infrastructure and equipment.

“While the courses sound interesting, their content is not clear as of now. As long as the syllabus is not defined properly, it will be difficult for colleges to find the right faculty,” said Kavita Rege, principal of Sathaye College in Vile Parle. Similar sentiments were echoed by Shobhana Vasudevan, principal of RA Podar College in Matunga. “The courses sound promising. However, it will be unfair to opt for them unless we provide students the right infrastructure and faculty, especially since the new courses are application-based. We need teachers from the industry who can give enough time to our students,” she said.

‘Tough to find faculty for even BMM'
Many college principals have pointed out that even though courses like Bachelor’s in Mass Media (BMM) have been around for long, they still find it difficult to find the right faculty. “The BMM course has a variety of subjects in every semester, and in the last two semesters the subjects become niche. Every year, we struggle to find faculty who have a good knowledge of theory as well as the present media industry. The course curriculum is also becoming redundant,” said a BMM course coordinator of a south Mumbai college.

Officials from the university have stated that no college will get approval for the new courses unless they are deemed fit to conduct them. “The curriculum has been approved by the academic council and basic structure will be made available to colleges. Our Local Inquiry Committee (LIC) will check if the colleges can provide students with the best faculty and facilities before giving the final approval,” said Dr Prahlad Jogdand, dean of Arts faculty of MU.

According to the university guidelines, the scrutiny involves a thorough check of institutes and management, as well as expert visits to the college. The process includes seven to eight stages and the final list of government-approved colleges is then declared in about a week, said officials from the university.