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Telangana varsities fight shy of multidisciplinary studies

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Stressing on innovative and cross-disciplinary approach to the studies, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in its latest circular to the Vice-Chancellors has asked them to implement a multidisciplinary and holistic education in higher education institutions (HEIs)

Hyderabad: Do the plants grown in nurseries for 'Telanganaku Haritha Haram' (THH) programme feel the Telugu song 'Gaaradi Chestundru' in 'Jai Bolo Telangana' film, written by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao?

Or, would they go into a different mood listening to the Hindi lyrics, 'Geet Naya Gata Hu' and 'Kya Khoya Kya Paya,' written by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and, rendered respectively by Lata Mangeshkar and Jagjit Singh?

Not just these two, there may be countless lyrics composed to different Ragas that vibrate and produce different frequencies and have an effect on the plants. But, "which song composed to which raga etc., will have what kind of effect on the growth of the plants and their health is certainly a serious research issue," say experts.

Speaking to The Hans India, Dr Anindita Roy Chowdhury, Department of Basic and Applied Sciences, School of Engineering, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon, said, "We do take up such multi- and inter-disciplinary research across the fields in our university. Students should be made to know how Physics is useful, offering an inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives."

Dr Anindita Roy Chowdhury and Anshu Gupta from the GD Goenka University have conducted a pilot project on the response of the Marigold flower plant and chickpea to the light Indian music and meditation music as well as to noise.

The researchers observed that music promoted the growth and development of plants, including germination. On the other hand, noise hindered it. "Possibly, specific audible frequencies and also musical frequencies facilitate better physiological processes like absorption of nutrients, photosynthesis, protein synthesis, etc., for the plant and this is observable in terms of increased height, higher number of leaves and, overall, more developed and healthier plants," they said.

A multidisciplinary approach, as defined by definitions.net, involves drawing appropriately from multiple disciplines to redefine problems outside of normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations.

Stressing on such an innovative and cross-disciplinary approach to the studies, rather than pursuing individual subject matters separately at higher education level, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in its latest circular to the Vice-Chancellors has asked them to implement a multidisciplinary and holistic education in higher education institutions (HEIs). But it seems to have so far little or no effect in the State universities in Telangana.

The UGC circular citing the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) said

the education as envisaged in it will help develop well-rounded individuals. It advocates the critical 21st century capacities in fields across arts, humanities, languages, sciences, social sciences, and professional, technical, and vocational fields; an ethic of social engagement; soft skills, such as communication, discussions and debate; and rigorous specialisation in a chosen field or fields.

Further, the UGC said, such a holistic education shall be, in the long term, the approach of all undergraduate programmes, including professional, technical, and vocational disciplines.

Against this backdrop, the UGC asked the VCs to take appropriate action for implementing multidisciplinary and holistic education in the universities and affiliated colleges and upload the initiative taken up on the University Activity Monitoring Portal (UAMP).

However, Telangana Government College Teachers Association (TGCTA) president, Dr Nagender Rao said that creating awareness about multidisciplinary approaches at the undergraduate level will help students. Studies such as the influence of acoustic frequencies including music on the growth pattern of plants among students would make students think beyond textbook studies and be creative and innovative.

But, "No one is listening to our suggestions. Everything seems going at the Commissionerate level," he added.

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