Framework for higher education
Creativity cannot be bound to any particular discipline
Prof Yash Pal

This is going to be a slightly different column. I have been answering Tribune readers’ questions for six years. This has been enjoyable and highly educational for me. The questions have often stumped me. Often, I have spent days thinking about the most appropriate answer to give. Since I have entertained, primarily, the questions you had discovered, it has been very instructive to be exposed to the dimensions of your curiosity.



Framework for higher education
Creativity cannot be bound to any particular discipline
Prof Yash Pal

This is going to be a slightly different column. I have been answering Tribune readers’ questions for six years. This has been enjoyable and highly educational for me. The questions have often stumped me. Often, I have spent days thinking about the most appropriate answer to give. Since I have entertained, primarily, the questions you had discovered, it has been very instructive to be exposed to the dimensions of your curiosity.

Raw curiosity is seldom discipline-bound, just as life cannot be contained within one or two disciplines – it is not discipline limited. I have specially enjoyed many of the questions from very young children.

Illustration by Kuldip Dhiman
Illustration by Kuldip Dhiman

Such considerations have influenced the drafting of the NCF-95 for school education to some extent. But that is not enough. We should realise that similar consideration is also required for higher education. For this reason, and some others, it has been felt that we should also attempt some discussion on a Curriculum Framework for Higher Education. I copy below a discussion paper I had circulated a couple of months ago (see box):

The reasons for the statement given in the box can be presented and discussed. Our education should engage with and enhance our society as it is. We have to build on our strengths and our diversities. We have to make the richness of our diversity a positive asset. And while doing all this we have to locate our education in the world as it is now. If we do that we will release energies that lie now dormant.

All this will need conversations with a large group of academics from various disciplines. We might have to start with something like a steering committee. We might name it differently. Then we would have to have detailed discussions in a number of focus groups. This has to be done right. It will have to be a deep exercise that cannot be finished in a hurry. We may have to be careful about the danger of lot of learned obfuscation. We need to renew ourselves.

We can, and shall produce the relevant arguments and philosophy in this regard. Much of this already exists. But we might need to do more. One of the challenges might be to illuminate the manner in which we could achieve the dual requirement of breaking the boundaries between college and society and, simultaneously, also increase the porosity of the walls between disciplines. We need to make the exercise more insightful by discovering and elaborating some examples. We need to create some live and obvious examples. That is where most of our work should lie in the beginning. We then have to show that this works.

I think we cannot be only philosophical. This alone will not get across. If we want to encourage some wandering in the realm of ideas we cannot give formulas for that. By definition the paths taken by different wanderers are unlikely to be the same. We need to illustrate how creative wandering can be different from aimless loafing. Let me try to illustrate this by giving one way we might recognise and deal with this while answering a question I received only yesterday. The question was:

The big birds seem to fly almost straight to their destination. On the other hand flies, butterflies, bees and other flying insects do not seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere; they flit around, often in circles. Why this difference?

This question might occur to a child or to a school student, a college student, to a farmer or a grown scholar. Many answers might be forthcoming from different students in the class. None of these might be wrong, but when they are asked to explore the reasons for their answers a large number of considerations might have to be explored. This could easily lead them to various aspects of ecology, biology, aerodynamics, physics, thermodynamics, memory spans of insects, their brain sizes, their sense of smell, their vision, their life spans, and their view of life, their urges and desires. Ecology is bound to emerge, also the complementary and supplementary roles of various factors. Some students might go into several of these questions while others might get more deeply involved with one or two of the topics mentioned above. There would be room here for philosophy and ethics, psychology and aesthetics. Many of the considerations might be of interest even to anthropologists! I had another ordinary sounding questions early last week. I am repeating the answer I gave because it is connected with the argument and appeal I am making through this article.

If my watch shows a time 12.00.00 during the day shall I denote it as am or pm?

You can of course advise him that he can just use the word "noon" to remove all ambiguity. But it would be nice to start a discussion on the exact moment when am turns into pm; how sharply can one define this moment? If at all. That can take us into the nature of time and the accuracy with which you could measure it. One could start with diurnal time and go on to atomic time. Conservation of angular momentum, slowing down of the earth rotation due to tidal friction, nature of tides, observational evidence for the change in the length of the day, what is atomic time, how to improve the accuracies of measurement, laser cooling of Cesium ions to remove the Doppler effect, use of atomic clocks in GPS satellites, correction for General Relativity, etc.etc.

Depending on the interest and inclination of participants the discussion and exploration can turn into navigation, cell phones, styles of living, sociological effects, globalization, satellite broadcasting.

Another branch could deal with biological time, rhythms, heartbeats, reaction times, sport, cricket and tennis.

A child’s question might have triggered me but it is not essential that the child should be loaded with all this. We are not seeking a prescribed syllabus but merely showing that there can be several directions for lateral excursion, many of them leading to exciting new worlds. Everyone is not forced to take all the side streets. But an awareness that they might be there and could be accessible is gain enough. Most of them would choose their own street and discover further footpaths to follow. Everything is and should remain legal. Diversity should not be seen as threat.

Curriculum framework for undergraduate education

Why must we be imprisoned in narrowly defined disciplines? Nothing worthwhile in the universe, even in daily life around us, can be contained within a single discipline. Why the walls around disciplines are so impervious? When it does, most creativity oozes out of these walls. We need porous boundaries. Is it essential that we first master the so-called basics of one or more disciplines and then seek their applications? Can we not allow for the possibility of going the other way?

Most skills are acquired through living and engaging with the world. This is also true of important sensibilities of art, music, design and craft, which all come through multi-spectoral exposures, play and wondering. Can we have the freedom and skill to design our curricula to use all these as starting points for the study of various subjects - even science and engineering? We can certainly do this in humanities and social sciences.

Appeal for help

I have to confess that the character of my role in the massive exercise of framing a National Curriculum Framework - 95 for school education owes much to the learning that came to me through long interaction I have had with children in different ways, including thousands of their questions. Now I have got involved, along with several other friends in an effort to develop a curriculum framework for college and university education. It is in this connection that I seek help and advice from my regular readers and others. Please help me.




Central Insitute of Fisheries Nautical & Engineering Training, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi 682016 (Ker) (M/o Labour, GoI)

Training Course:
1) Vessel Navigator
2) Marine Fitter
(At Kochi / Chennai / Visakhatpatnam)

Eligibility: Class 10 (with 50% in Maths & Science); 1 year Fishing experience preferred
Age: 17 - 20 years (on 01 August ’08)

Selection: Entrance Test: 06 July ‘08

Application Form & Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 09 June 2008

Armed Forces

Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi 110069

National Defence Academy & Naval Academy Examination (II), 2008

Eligibility: Unmarried males.
For Army Wing: 10+2.

For Air Force, Naval Wing of NDA & 10+2 (Executive Branch) Course at Naval Academy: 10+2 (Physics / Maths)

DoB: 02 July 1990 – 01 January 1993

Exam: 17 August 2008

Application Form: Available at designated Head PO’s / PO Rs 20/- (Cash)

Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website.

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008

Indian Navy, PO Bag No 04, RK Puram PO (Main), New Delhi 110066

SSC Officers in Executive Branch (General Service/ Hydro Cadre) – Jan 2009

Eligibility: Unmarried Indian male, BE / BTech / BSc (with Physics & Maths; 55%) / MSc (with Physics & Maths; 55%) / BSc (with Physics & Maths) & NCC Naval Wing, Senior Division ‘C’ Certificate / Bachelors / Masters degree in Operations Analysis & Operational Research / Quantitative Methods / Maths (with Probability / Statistics) , 75%
Age: 19 ½ - 25 years (DoB: 02 January ’84 - 01 July ‘89)

Selection: SSB Interview; Medical Examination

Application Form: Send in prescribed format by ordinary post with all required documents to the above address. Superscribe "Application for SSC (GS) ’X’ / Hydro Cadre-Jan 2009 Course- against repeat advertisement Qualification.…Percentage…….%. NCC Certificate…..(if applicable)" on the envelope to the above address.

Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website.

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008


National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Vihar Lake, PO NITIE, Mumbai 400087 (Mah) (Ministry of HRD, GoI)

1) PG Diploma in Industrial Engineering (2 years)
2) Fellow (Doctoral) Programme
Areas: Organizational Behavior / Marketing / Ergonomics / Economics / Operations Mgmt / IT / Operations Research / Finance & Accounting / Safety & Environmental Management.

Eligibility: For 1: GATE qualified BE / BTech (1st Class) in any branch
For 2:
ME / MTech / Masters degree (Management / Economics / Social Sciences / Biological Sciences / Pure Sciences; 1st Class). NET qualifier can also apply.

Selection: For 1: GD & Interview: 09 – 11 May 2008

For 2: Academic qualifications, work experience, seminar presentation and Interview.

Application Form: Send Rs 1000/- by DD favouring "NITIE, Mumbai," payable at Mumbai with 4 self-addressed stickers to the Deputy / Assistant Registrar (Academic) at the above address / apply online.

Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 04 April 2008

ABV - Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management, Morena Link Road, Gwalior (MP) (Deemed University)

MTech in Computer Science & Engg with specialization in (Advanced Network / VLSI Design / Visual Information Processing / Information Security / Digital Communication); 1 year

Eligibility: BE / BTech in (Computer Science & Engg / Electronics & Communication Engg / Electrical Engg), 60% / 6.75 CGPA on a 10 point scale; GATE qualified

Selection: Written Test & Interview: 04 – 05 May 2008

Application Form & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008

Bureay of Energy Efficiency, National Productivity Council, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Productivity, 6, SIDCO Industrial Estate, Ambattur, Chennai 600098 (M/o Power, GoI) / /

National Certificate Examination for Energy Managers & Energy Auditors

Application Form & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 10 April 2008


Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi 835215 (Jhar)

MCA (3 years, Full Time)

Eligibility: BCA / BSc Computer Sc / IT / Electronics / BSc / Bachelors degree (60%) with (Maths / Statistics); with minimum 60% in Honors subjects & Class 10 & 12.

Selection: Entrance Exam: 24 - 25 May ‘08

Application Form: Send Rs 1300/- by crossed DD favouring "Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra" payable at Mesra, Ranchi with 2 self-addressed slips of paper (10 cm x 10 cm) to the above address by 22 April 2008.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 05 May 2008


Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, Raj Bhavan Complex, Baner Road, Pune 411007 (Mah)

PG Diploma in Rural Mgmt (1 year)

Eligibility: Bachelors degree; Work-Ex in rural sector preferred / Senior In-service Officers working in Panchayati Raj Institutions, Government Departments, Elected representatives, Professionals, Consultants, NGO representatives, rural activists and any student who wants to pursue a career in Rural Management.

Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 30 April 2008

University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Chauhan Complex, C 2/203, First Floor, Indira Nagar, Dehradun 248006 (Utt)

MBA (Oil & Gas Mgmt / Power Mgmt / Aviation Mgmt / Upstream Asset Mgmt / Port & Shipping Mgmt / Logistics & Supply Chain Mgmt / Infrastructure Mgmt / Energy TRading)

Eligibility: Bachelors degree, Class 10 & 12 (60%); CAT 2007 scores (Min 70 percentile)

Application Form & Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008


HIHT University, Swami Ram Nagar, PO Doiwala, Dehradun 248140 (Utt)

Pre-Medical Entrance Exam 2008-09
(for admission MBBS course)

Eligibility: 10+2 (Physics, Chemistry, Biology (50%) & English),
Age: 17 years (on 31 December 2008)

Exam: 29 May 2008

Application Form: Send Rs 1250/- by DD favouring "HIHT" payable at Dehradun to the Controller of Examination at the above address by 21 April ’08 / download from website.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 25 April 2008

Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Memorial Centre, Dr. Earnest Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai 400012 (Mah) /

Advanced Histopathology & Cytology Technicians Training Course (1 year)

Eligibility: BSc, 55% (with Microbiology / Life Sciences / Chemistry / Zoology / Cytology / DMLT / CMLT)).
Age Limit: 25 years (on 22 December ’07)

Application Form & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 12 April 2008


Staff Selection Commission, Block No 12, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003

1) Statistical Investigators Grade III (110 posts)
2) Compiler (434 posts)

Eligibility: For 1: Masters degree in (Statistics / Maths / Economics)
For 2: Bachelors degree with Economics / Statistics / Maths as one subject; ‘O’ level certificate in computers preferred
Age: (On 11 April ’08)
For 1: 18 - 25 years
For 2: 18 – 27 years

Exam: 15 June 2008.

Application Form: Download from website

Details: Employment News (15 - 21 March 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 11 April 2008


CSIR, Human Resource Development Group (Extra Mural Research Division), CSIR Complex, Library Avenue, Pusa, New Delhi 110012 /

CSIR Fellowships

1) Senior Research Fellowships (SRF)

2) Senior Research Fellowships (SRF Extended) 1 year

3) Research Associateships

Eligibility: For 1: 60%; MSc / BE / BTech with two years work experience / ME / MTech in Engg / Technology Or MBBS / BDS with 1 year internship / BPharm / BVSc / BSc (Agriculture) with 3 years research experience / MPharm / MVSc / MSc (Agriculture) with 1 year research experience,
For 2: Submitted PhD / MD / MS/ MDS thesis with proof. One research publication in standard refereed journal as listed in Journal Citation Report,
For 3: PhD (Science / Engg) / MD / MS/ MDS (Medical Science) / MPharm / ME / MTech / MVSc with 3 years research experience. One research publication in standard refereed journal as listed in Journal Citation Report
Age Limit: (On 15 April 2008)
For 1: 32 years
For 2: 33 years
For 3: 35 years.

Scholarship: For 1: Science discipline: Rs 14,000/- pm for 1-3 years;
Medical, Veterinary, Pharmacy & Engg: Rs 14,000/- pm for 1st & 2nd year & Rs 15,000/- for 3rd & 4th year
For 2: Rs 15,000/- pm
For 3: One of the following: Rs 16,000/-pm, Rs17,000/- pm, Rs 18,000/- pm
Selection: Interview

Application Form: Apply online

Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008

Sciences Physical

SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Block JD, Sector III, Salt Lake, Kolkata 700098 (WB)

Post MSc-PhD Programme

Eligibility: MSc in (Physics / Physical Chemistry / Maths / Biophysics / Biochemistry / Bioinformatics), 55%

Selection: JEST / GATE 2008; NET qualifiers; Interview: 17-20 June 2008

Stipend: As per CSIR (JRF) scale for first 2 years upgraded to SRF scale on performance

Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 15 April 2008

Teaching & Education

Central Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, University of Delhi, 33 Chhatra Marg, Delhi 110007

1) PhD (Education)

2) MPhil (Education), FT & PT

3) MEd (1 year, FT & 2 years, PT)

4) BEd (1 year)

5) B EI Ed (4 years, women only)

Selection: Written Exam:

For 3: 29 June ‘08;
For 4: 17 May ’08;
For 5: 14 June ‘08
For 3: 09 July ’08;
For 4: 23– 26 June ’08;
For 5: 27 – 28 June ‘08
Details: Employment News (15 – 21 March 2008) / Website.


Pervin Malhotra, Director, Career Guidance India (CARING)