UWC Mahindra College monthly newsletter

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adding UWC flesh to the IB skeleton

It is increasingly difficult to maintain that all or most subject combinations within the IB necessarily lead to the fulfillment of the UWC mission.  While IB courses were supplemented, at Mahindra College, by additional courses and evening seminars this had been on an ad hoc basis. 

An in-principle decision was recently made by the colleges Head of Departments and then ratified by the faculty body to substitute the IB 7th subject option with a choice of evening courses on topics of broader UWC significance. These “UWC Courses” will be team-taught, be relevant to the furthering of the UWC mission, and be a mix (in different proportions) of theory and practice.

While it will not, yet, be compulsory for students to take one of these courses, students are strongly recommended to take one, or two, of these in their two years here. Effort grades for these will also be recorded on transcripts.

The faculty have displayed strong interest, and a number of proposals have already come in. In the direction of environmental sustainability there will be a course on “Environmental Management”, which will teach both theory and implement it in the college's Biodiversity Reserve. In the direction of cultural understanding and physical activity (a la Kurt Hahn) there will be a course on both the theory and practice of Yoga. An interdisciplinary seminar on the science, history and politics on nuclear energy will also be on offer. With the Indian government proposing a nuclear energy plant coming up in Jaitapur, only a couple of hundred km from the college, the global debate over nuclear power has become a local one.

Another offering on a key UWC issue will be an evening seminar called “Ideas and Interventions”. “I+I” will raise issues of the relationship between art and action, intellectual and activist, while examining some of the difficulties individuals (including UWC graduates) have had in bridging the two worlds. Western and Indian contexts, past and current.

As in earlier years Mahindra College students will continue to have two popular choices offered to them: the Global Perspectives course (the successful completion of which fetches a Cambridge Pre-U certificate) and the IB World Studies Extended Essay, which requires students to explore, with fieldwork, a global issue in a local context. Mahindra has piloted the first and both pioneered and piloted the second, for several years, and both are scheduled to go mainstream within their respective Boards  (Cambridge and IB) shortly. 

Dr Cyrus Vakil
Director of Academic Studies

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