CURRICULUM IN QUESTION: An Interview with Dr. Srimanjari

Updated: Apr 1

On the 15th of February, the UGC published a draft suggested LOCF syllabus for the undergraduate degree course in History. The proposed syllabus has been under much scrutiny by academia - teachers and scholars of history alike, alongside the students who have displayed mixed feelings.

Dr. Srimanjari has an experience of teaching history at Miranda House for the last three decades. The main courses that she has taught include, Social Formations and Cultural Patterns of the Ancient and Medieval World, and History of India (1750-1950). She is also engaged in guiding research at the Department of history, University of Delhi. Her current research explores the interconnections between history, archives and memory particularly in the context of the port-city of Mangalore on the west coast of India. Earlier, she worked on the social history of Bengal during one of the most tumultuous periods in its history – the World War II.

Since this is the first time that the UGC has issued a full-fledged syllabus instead of issuing guidelines - why do you think this change was brought about?

Well, the suddenness with which the draft LOCF Syllabus has appeared in the public domain has surprised us. This much is clear that the syllabus has been issued without addressing the basic objective or purpose that should be behind such an exercise – that is to take care of the lacuna in the existing curriculum and to produce one that is in tune with recent developments in the subject.

Considering that the students and teachers are the primary stakeholders, were they consulted before devising the new draft syllabus? Is the process of curriculum designing inclusive of students’ and teachers’ opinions?

On earlier occasions, the History Faculty of departments of history of different colleges affiliated to the University of Delhi have participated in discussions and consultations pertaining to curriculum/syllabus revision and renewal. The task of organising these is initiated by the main Department of History at the University. However, this time we have not been consulted at any level. And therefore, the exercise loses its meaning and purpose as the prime stakeholders have been overlooked.