Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wild escapades

How many of us have the courage to follow our passion instead of opting for the safe route of taking up a regular job? Through this column, we share extraordinary stories of ordinary people who turned their passion into a profession. 

A fine canvas

Manohar Lal, principal, Government College of Art, Chandigarh, on career options for fine arts graduates 

Art is the best way to express your emotions and convey your message to others. As it is others. As it is said, artists cannot be made; they are born. So, there is no prerequisite to pursue a course in fine arts. However, this discipline requires inborn talent. 

Taiwanese scholarships

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in India organised an orientation programme for the Taiwan Scholarship and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship awardees, in Delhi on July 15. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jamia Millia Islamia headed for academic reform

 Unlike his predecessor whose focus had been on administrative reform, the new vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Talat Ahmad, has made academic reforms his priority. Upon completion of one month as vice-chancellor, Ahmad spelled out his agenda for the next five years-from holding a student union election to setting up a medical college and hospital as well as a choice-based credit system for interdisciplinary studies. The university began its new academic session on Wednesday.

Drawing the roadmap for Jamia's progress under his stewardship, Ahmad made it clear that there will be no room for complacency. "My vision is to put Jamia on the national map in environmental studies, earth sciences and glacial studies, among other areas." With renewed thrust on research, the VC said Jamia has also applied for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Some major academic reforms and initiatives Ahmad has been planning include setting up a medical college and hospital, starting a new school on earth atmosphere and planetary sciences and putting in place a choice-based credit system.

"The Supreme Court has granted us a little over 114 bigha of prime land in Jamia's vicinity. One of our proposals for that area is setting up a hospital and medical college. World over, universities have choice-based credit systems. I also propose to put one in place within two years to enable students to move to diverse disciplines under the interdisciplinary rubric. We will start this at the postgraduate level."

Ahmad is also planning collaboration with Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Indian Institute of Technology for interdisciplinary studies and co-supervisor facilities for masters and PhD scholars. "There is a good possibility of other universities in Delhi like DU, JNU and IIT sharing expertise and resources. There can even be exchange programmes in which students can do a course of their interest in the university which is known for that subject and earn credits," said Ahmad. He also has a mega-plan of bringing library resources from these central universities under one platform and offering their remote access to students and teachers.

It has been over eight years since Jamia had a students' union. Ahmad is in favour of a students' union. "We have to work that out since the matter is sub-judice. I will allow formation of students' union this year in some form. There could be 50% female representation in the union. But beyond that, I can't say anything else."