What was once DU’s flagship course is now being offered by most private universities. While it remains to be one of the most popular fields of study, does it live up to the hype? Dissecting the nitty-gritties of the curriculum, we find that there is ample room for improvement.
With the advent of the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) in 2015, there has been a paradigm shift in most courses. The University of Delhi embarked on a new-found semester system, discarding the erstwhile annual examinations. The rollout was a tedious process, full of delays and uncertainty. The reaction was eventually a mixed one.
In particular reference to commerce courses, CBCS has not enjoyed a favourable position among professors. A few recommendations by the academic council to revamp the syllabi have been welcome changes; including the introduction of the IT Act and computer applications as core subjects, with practical lessons to file ITRs under the subject Income Tax bringing the application aspect to theory. Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the commerce curriculum is another indicator of the continuous efforts made by DU to make learning more relevant.
Unfortunately, despite all progressive steps, commerce courses continue to teach several redundant and outdated portions. E-commerce, an elective subject offered in the 3rd semester, for example, includes HTML as part of its practical lessons and other generic theory related to online business transactions. Similarly, many core subjects act as mere additions to the theory taught in the 10+2 level, and the non-existence of case studies from these subjects is equally appalling.
One of the Head of Departments of Commerce at a prominent DU college said, “Everything happens under the ambit of the UGC guidelines, which makes the process of recommending changes in the syllabus a bureaucratic one.” She also added that the absence of Economics and Statistics as core subjects and just Generic Electives is extremely alarming, as commerce simply cannot exist without economics. Management Accounting is another subject that was compulsorily taught earlier, but under CBCS, it has become a discipline elective subject. According to her, CBCS claims to be choice-based but it undermines the urgency of a few courses and hence offers uneven combinations. Choices are offered, but most colleges do not have the infrastructure, and when one course is pitted against the other, either of those important courses suffers.
The curriculum is also not particularly flexible and is largely poorly designed. Covering the entirety of Income Tax and Macroeconomics in one semester is unjustifiable for both the teachers and students, thus, leading to lack of in-depth knowledge on any subject.
Private universities have started cashing in on this flawed course structure and are beginning to offer a diverse, well-planned layout. What used to be DU’s flagship course is now offered by multiple universities.
Universities should be given certain autonomy to plan out their course structure in accordance with the number of students and the streams those students usually come from. Whether CBCS was implemented to cut down on appointments or revamp the existing version, the question will continue to exist.
There is infinite room for improvement in this area as there innumerable problems that need to be addressed. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of career options available for a commerce graduate to choose from. This course witnesses the highest packages being offered to some of its graduates. A commerce degree in itself is said to never be enough, but it certainly is a stepping-stone to the corporate world.
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