Single paper scheme in Business Education calls for rethink

WITH the establishment of Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Srinagar, business education at first degree level was started in early 1960s in Kashmir. Over the past more than five decades this branch of knowledge has evolved to a large extent. More and more colleges in government and private sectors are engaged in the dissemination of business education. From B Com (General) to B Com (Vocational) to B Com (Add-on) to B Com (Hons) to BBA— and now BFC and some more programmes and courses of study under the umbrella of business education— are continuously designed and developed.
 Curriculum management of business education has its unique features. Courses of study are heterogeneous and not homogenous. Syllabi transaction is not confined to traditional teaching pedagogy alone but different instructional strategies are adopted keeping in view the requirements of different courses.
 Accordingly the course structure comprises different modules clubbing together a variety of courses of study.
 • Business education programmes like B.Com and BBA besides being contextual are more application oriented. Owing to its special features and course structure, B Com is in close proximity with BBA rather than BA and B Sc. So B Com deserves to be considered in line with BBA in regard to different components of curriculum management.
 • B .Com and BBA programmes have natural association and vertical integration with professional programmes like CA, CMA, CS, CFA, etc. Any compromise in its quality would have long term implications so far as professional programmes and academic advancement and research in business education are concerned.
 • B Com programme is more loaded with hard components like Accounting and Taxation; Whereas BBA programme deals with soft courses in the areas of HRM and Marketing. Computer applications in business find its place in both the programmes.
 Reducing examination cycle, as months together were consumed in the examination process right from commencement to declaration of results, was need of the hour. Equally important was de-stressing the examinees from year end examination burden and strain. The universities were in search of an alternative to effect some corrective measures so that more days are available for teaching-learning process. Thus an easy way was found out by switching over to single paper scheme: merging A and B papers. Simultaneously, comprehensive continuous evaluation mechanism has not been strengthened.
 Accordingly, all the departments in the university adjusted their respective course structures as the scheme came into operation from the current academic session. A workshop organised by DBFS (erstwhile commerce department) Kashmir University on 15 Oct, 2012 debated and discussed the subject of single paper scheme at first degree level for business education in detail.
 Keeping in view the significance and far reaching implications of the decision one technical session was exclusively devoted to study the pros and cons of the scheme. There was no consensus as the participants raised substantial issues. The workshop culminated on a big note of caution: Paper merger was a policy decision adopted in the university council which, however, never approved of reduction in course content.
 Before switching over to single paper B.Com degree had a four-module system as against four-subject scheme for BA and BSc. Because of the heterogeneity, the merger within a module was not possible leading to adoption of only one course of study and the other was dropped resulting in 37.5% reduction in course content. Switching over probably has not gone in tune with academic standards at B.Com level as foreseen in the workshop and needs an immediate revisiting and reviews at the earliest the best. Thus in this regard it is suggested with all sincerity and based on academic merit that:
 • The pattern of evaluation and examination of B.Com programme needs to be similar to BBA. There are seven papers in BBA. The B Com programme should also have equal number of courses of study and complete the entire examination within 15 days with one review and revision break for each course of study.
 • The course structure of B.Com as usual should be a blending of conceptual, numerical and application oriented courses of study to enjoy special feature of this discipline. It has been observed that business education graduates (B Com and B B A) are more versatile because of the course structure.
 • The college faculty should be empowered to conduct internal semester for every year and the external semester by the university for all the three years at first degree level.
 In sum B Com degree holders too are likely to sit in various competitive examinations being held by the state and central recruiting agencies. They will feel themselves to be handicapped in such examinations for having completed degree with a few papers only. The course structure of B Com degree has to be at least at par with other state and central universities in the country, which is visibly missing in the redesigned scheme. Furthermore, the UGC guidelines have also to be taken care of while designing course structure of a particular programme. 
 Authors can be mailed at gilkarna@rediffmail.com and mohdgm@ymail.com

Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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