Hyderabad: The choice-based credit system, popularly known as the cafeteria system, in which students pick individual courses, has been widely debated in the academic circles.
Due to increasing competition, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had decided to implement this system to allow students to build a more interdisciplinary curriculum. This year, students have been asked to pick courses to increase the total number of credits awarded to them at the time of graduation. It has been left up to universities and colleges to decide the number of additional credits to be added.
Najla V., who is pursuing an MA in Sociology, says, “For first-year students, three credits have been increased per semester. Students now receive 70 credits instead of 64. The additional course is mandatory, and 75 per cent attendance is required for it. There are over 60 courses being offered by the University of Hyderabad under this scheme.”
UGC officials say that the 64-credit system was not conducive to the selection of courses from other disciplines, which is why the number of credits offered has been increased.
However, professors say that even with the 70-credit system, students prefer to opt for courses within their own disciplines due to familiarity with the subject matter and the professors.
Professor Adeeb A. says, “A lot of students opt for courses based on the number of classes per week and how strict the professors are. These should not be the criteria for students to make their choice. The choice-based credit system has been implemented to allow students to learn what they enjoy, outside of their disciplines. It should be put to good use. The additional credits can also help while studying abroad in the future.”
Christine Fernandes, the principal of St Francis College, says, “Ours was one of the first colleges in the state to adopt the choice-based credit system for graduate and postgraduate courses, to give our students a chance to explore different departments. The students are beginning to understand the importance of the system. We offer around thirty courses, and each course requires at least 15 students to be enrolled, or else it is cancelled for the academic year.”
Although the UGC has asked colleges and universities to introduce a greater number of courses, electives are limited to one or two for every department due to the lack of infrastructure and faculty members.