UGC develops new Psychology curriculum with a 'Sanskaari' touch to make it relevant in the Indian context. Are you psyched about it?

Outdated manuals, a system of rote and little to no understanding of several concepts have driven this move. The new curriculum has been adopted by the UGC and will be deployed soon
Experts say the current syllabus is rote and lacks a
Experts say the current syllabus is rote and lacks a

Moving on from an archaic syllabus regarding the science of the human mind, the University Grants Commission with the help of experts has revised the syllabus for Psychology in undergraduate,  postgraduate and research courses saying it does 'not fulfil societal needs' and is 'not rooted in the national ethos'. In a letter sent to all vice-chancellors earlier this week, the commission has asked all varsities to adopt the new syllabus which has "special relevance to the Indian context".The new syllabus has met with criticism from some academics across the country while the proposition has struck a chord with the student community in Hyderabad.

Most varsities have an outdated syllabus and include a theoretical syllabus that lacks practical components. Osmania University (OU), for instance, has not revamped it syllabus for the last several decades. From a global perspective, students seeking education abroad find themselves behind their peers in such a situation. For instance, a PG degree from OU would only be comparable to a diploma abroad. Lack of specialisation is another hindrance Hyderabadi students armed with a degree from OU face.

"While we are not given any guidance on specialisation, in universities abroad a PG degree is tailored to specific areas you already have some experience in. This makes us ineligible to get a license to practice the profession abroad," said Reshma Banu, alumni of OU.    

Dr PV Vigilan, Head of the Department and Assistant Professor at Sweekaar Academy of Rehabilitation Sciences agrees that current teaching psychological is rote. "There is no scope to get on-hands training in any university of the State. Students read, write and get degrees. Where is the scope to understand what a personality disorder looks like? He said and added that there is a need to relook teaching and learning the discipline. 

In addition to the 'all-theory-no-practical-exposure', students also learn little from the experiments, thanks to the outdated manuals that are also devoid of standardisation. "We learn research conducted by most psychologists who are dead now. We are not aware of the newer schools of psychological thoughts that have emerged. History is important but for students of an evolving disciple like Psychology learning about the recent findings and new concepts are also important," said Shreshta Jain, a Psychology research scholar from OU.

Dr Padmaja, a faculty from Center for Health Psychology says in view of the existing application gaps, upgrading the syllabus could be of use. She agreed that though most research is carried out in the West and there is a difference in the Indian cultural milieu, the picture is fast changing with a lot of western concepts finding roots in eastern and Indian context. "However, it is important that we do not narrow down our perspective and overlook global trends," she cautioned.

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