A proposed change in syllabus as per the National Education Policy (NEP) has left Economics teachers of Mangalore University-affiliated colleges worried about their jobs. This is because the university, which has colleges across Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu districts, has decided to comply with the framework issued by an expert committee appointed by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council which excludes Economics as a compulsory subject for B Com and BBA courses. The expert committeeâs report was released in September 2021.Incidentally Karnataka is one of the first states in the country to adopt NEP. Opposition Congress led by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had objected to this for not discussing the provisions in the state Assembly.
The teachers fear that due to this change, there will be a drastic reduction in their workload and eventually they will lose their jobs. The lecturers had submitted memorandums on the issue to Higher Education Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan and Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University, P Subrahmanya Yadapadithaya in August.
Ashok*, the principal of a college in Mangaluru told TNM that an estimated 170 Economics lecturers in Mangaluru and around 3000 more across the state would lose jobs if this framework is implemented.
TNM accessed the proposed syllabus and found that there was no compulsory Economics subject in BBA and B Com courses. However, according to the lecturers, students are allowed to take Economics as an elective subject after their fourth semester. However, according to Ashok, this is not very helpful as students might prefer other, easier electives. The teachers also state that this will harm students as Economics is fundamental to both the courses, without which the studentsâ knowledge might remain âsuperficialâ.
âCan non-subject teachers teach Economics?â
The lecturers further alleged that several chapters that they had been teaching previously had been included in the other subjects under different names.
âIn the new proposed structure, there is an attempt to completely ignore Economics. There is no direct mention of Economics but they have changed the titles to include them under Commerce, and added the same chapters here and there. This would allow other Commerce lecturers to teach these subjects which used to be taught by Economics lecturers,â said Professor Norbert Lobo, one of the directors of St Aloysius College in Mangaluru.
Norbert further questioned if Commerce lecturers would be suited to teach Economics subjects. âBeyond the claim, one needs to be competent and qualified to teach a certain subject. By this logic anyone can teach English just because they have learnt it from the first standard,â Lobo said.
âThere will be no job lossâ
When TNM contacted Mangalore University VC Subrahmanya on the issue, he said, âAs of now, in Mangaluru, we have decided that the status quo will be maintained. In some colleges, Economics will be taught by only Economics lecturers. In other colleges, the Commerce lecturers who have also learnt Economics during their training would teach it. This will be implemented at the college level in a way that it doesn't impact the workload. We have agreed to do this for the 207 colleges in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu.â
He added that Commerce lecturers will not take over the work of the Economics lecturers, as MSc and BSc Economics courses will be introduced. Presently the Mangalore University only offers MA and PhD in Economics.
In addition to this, he said that subjects such as Financial Literacy and Digital Literacy have been created which can be taught by both Commerce and Economics lecturers. According to him, this will also add to the responsibilities of Economics lecturers.
âThe responsibility of ensuring that they have enough workflow is our responsibility. I expect the workflow to increase one and a half times after implementation,â he said.