UoP may discontinue external PG courses

UoP has almost decided to close the door on option to pursue PG level courses externally. The UoP invites applications from external students for registration to its MA, MCom, MSc (Mathematics) courses, which allows students to pursue certain courses, and directly appear for the examinations leading to graduate or post-graduate degrees. Every year around lakh students secure external admission to complete graduation or PG level courses. Out of these 20,000 students take admissions for MA or MCom courses.

Major decision: The main building of the University of Pune. File Pic

“The UoP is introducing a credit system at all PG level affiliated colleges from the academic year 2013-14. As the evaluation process for credit system is different in comparison to the ongoing assessment process, the university doesn’t have an option but to close PG level external courses,” said Principal Nandkumar Nikam, chairperson of UoP’s appointed committee on external courses. Principal Nikam also said that his committee would soon finalise the decision on external students and submit its report to the Vice-Chancellor.

At the UoP’s academic council meeting held on Tuesday many members present for the meeting raised their objection on the external system, saying that the UoP has to restrict the increasing number of external students, as it is resulting in plenty vacant seats at Arts and Commerce colleges. A green signal was given by members to implement the credit system at PG level in all UoP’s affiliated colleges.

Dr V B Gaikvad, director of UoP’s Board of College and University Development (BCUD) who is tasked with introducing the credit system, said, “The academic council has given a final approval for the implementation of credit system at PG level in all affiliated colleges. But, a decision on the external students issue will be decided by the special committee appointed.”

“As any graduate can complete MA or MCom externally very swiftly by paying just a nominal exam fees, the situation today is that student prefer to take admission in college to complete PG course. That’s why it’s better to shut the external option,” said a PG level college professor, on condition of anonymity.

Dr Gautam Bhong, Dean of Mental, Moral and Social sciences faculty, who was present at academic council’s meeting, said, “The academic council has discussed various other ways to curb the number of external students at PG level. Some of them are increasing the fees of external courses and match it with the college fees so that students prefer to take admission at colleges rather than doing the same course externally. The UoP can impose restrictions that after graduation if someone wants to do PG externally there should be a five year gap, which would result in limiting external students strength.”

Though the UoP is planning to close PG level external courses in the name of the new credit system, it will hamper the aspirations of needy students with family commitments who wish to pursue their PG education.

“The University of Pune is a 64-year-old prestigious institution and since its inception it has been giving opportunity to students from all strata of society to continue their education. But the academic council’s decision to shut or restrict the number of external students is certainly against the students right to pursue higher education. The increasing pressure from colleges is the only reason the university is planning to shut external courses. But how can the varsity just close external courses,” said a teacher and academic council member, on condition of anonymity.  

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