The paucity of proper study material for most of its courses, coupled with success of its zoology department in getting textbooks printed for students has prompted the University of Mumbai to start pr
The paucity of proper study material for most of its courses, coupled with success of its zoology department in getting textbooks printed for students has prompted the University of Mumbai to start printing textbooks for all subjects at its own printing press in Kalina.
According to the zoology department, textbooks printed by them not only provided precise study material to students at an economical price but also resulted in profit that will be given to professors who participated in the authoring of textbooks.
Prof Vinayak Dalvie, Chairman, Board of Studies (BoS), zoology, MU, said that they had decided to prepare their own textbooks based on feedback from students and professors last year. “We held day-long workshops and prepared the content of the first semester of zoology course. However, as the cost of getting textbooks printed from external publishers was high, we decided to get them printed at the university press itself,” said Prof Dalvie.
He added that the decision proved to be beneficial not only for students but also for the professors who authored the textbooks as the profit will be distributed among them.
“We were able to provide all zoology textbooks for a mere Rs 250 for which, students would have had to spend nearly double the amount. The textbooks were precise and helped students study relevant material without having to refer to different books,” he said.
Success of the initiative prompted the zoology department to hold another workshop recently to review textbooks for the first semester and prepare textbooks for the second semester.
The workshop was held at Maharashtra College where around 50 faculty members, students and alumni participated.
“The workshop was a huge success and a draft of the textbook was prepared in a day,” said Dr Akbar Dalvi, department of zoology, Maharashtra College. He said that the initiative was welcomed by all those involved and more such workshops were in the offing under Prof Dalvie’s guidance.
Dr M.A. Khan, registrar, MU, said, “It is a welcome move by the department and it has shown what can be achieved if the BoS decides to so something for the benefit of students. The university will appeal to chairmen of all BoSs to follow the example of the Zoology department for the benefit of students,” said Dr Khan.
When asked whether the university press was equipped to cater to the requirements of lakhs of students in the event of all departments following suit, Dr Khan said, “The university has made a budgetary provision of Rs 3.5 crore in the 2016-17 budget to upgrade the press and make it technologically capable of meeting printing requirements that are anticipated.”
While the Zoology Department’s printing requirements were very low due to limited enrolments both at the university and affiliated colleges, in case of other departments like commerce following suit, the requirements would be enormous and would require upgradation of facilities available in the press.
The Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL), which has an enrolment of nearly 90,000 students in 14 different programmes, could also benefit by following the example of the Zoology department. Currently, IDOL does not have study material for many of its courses and students have to struggle to prepare for upcoming exams.
Dr Khan said that the university would also stand to gain from in-house printing of its textbooks.
“There are numerous benefits for the university too. The initiative will reflect in the university’s accreditation process as well as make it the first university to provide such a facility to its students. There is a huge scope and the university hopes that the press will function on the lines of the Oxford University Press,” said Dr Khan.