Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai is revamping its curriculum for the MA in Human Resources Management and Labour Relations program for the 2013-15 batch. The primary change being an emphasis on research, the new curriculum will allow students more time for research as the classroom workload will reduce approximately by 12%. Speaking exclusively to PaGaLGuY, Bino Paul, professor and chairperson, Centre for Human Resources Management and Labour Relations, TISS informed us of the decision. The total number of credits in the two-year course will be reduced from 88 to 77.
But how will the institute ensure that less time spent in the classroom will translate into better quality research work? “We are shifting from our earlier practice of research evaluation at the end of the final year to continuous assessment and close monitoring by the faculty throughout the course. Earlier, there was no institutional mechanism to keep a watch on the quality of research being done in the institute but under the new system, we hope that better quality research work takes place,” said Mr. Paul.
PaGaLGuY spoke to a first-year student from TISS who thought that this shift towards research will give a significant edge to students from the next batch. He said, “For people working in any area of management, research is of extreme importance. While academic research is different from research on-the-job, this grounding in research will hold the students in good stead. Also, the workload in the existing curriculum does not permit enough time for quality research. For quality research to happen, you need to give it one-two years. It takes a lot of time to identify the topic of research, doing literature reviews, feasibility tests etc and more free time will definitely help the students.” TISS is also planning to give students a lot of free time on Saturdays. Another student added, "12% reduction in workload might not be too much extra time spread over two years but free time on Saturdays is a move which will help the students immensely. The existing curriculum is quite demanding on the students."
The semester wise split-up of credits and workload will progressively decline to help students explore research areas and study subjects of their choice. The total number of credits allocated to research will remain at 6 but the institute will adopt an assessment of research output in every semester. Calling it as an initiative towards global benchmarking, Mr. Paul added, “If you look at the practices of some of the best universities abroad, research is always the top focus. We want to give more liberty and flexibility to the students while learning instead of focussing on what the employers want.”
The first semester will focus more on Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations and Labour Relations with two credits being allocated for the three subjects. The credits for other functional areas have been reduced in the first semester. Six new mandatory subjects and 12 new electives will also be offered as part of the new curriculum. The mandatory subjects include Organisational Economics, Psychology and Structure of Organisations, Sociology of Organisations, Conflict Management, Negotiation management and Labour Law and Public Policy. Students will have to choose a minimum of 5 electives from the pool of 23 electives offered to them. Some of the new electives which are on offer include Micro Econometrics, Psychometrics, Social Network Analysis, Moral Leadership and Indian Philosophy, Advance Learning and Development, and Knowledge Management among others.
This new development will also have a significant bearing on the TISS entrance exam. Although the institute was not willing to divulge the details at the moment, we were told that the entrance exam will certainly have some changes. The new course content has been developed over a period of five months. TISS had last revamped its curriculum in 2006.