This week The Times of India (ToI) carried an article claiming that “the way Indian students are introduced to economics needs a lot of improvement”.
The person making the claim: Venu Narayan, director of the School of Liberal Studies and Strategic Development at the recently-established Azim Premji University (APU) in Bengaluru. As a response, when APU opens its doors to economics undergraduates for the first time in July 2015, it will teach its economics course using CORE.
APU has been an enthusiastic supporter of CORE since day one, providing resources in India that helped make it possible to create our ebook The Economy.
In the ToI interview, Venu Narayan explains why CORE is attractive to APU: the existing syllabus for economics is “too narrowly designed”, he says, and APU’s goal is to widen it “to enrich the experience and give India a modern perspective” by encouraging its economists to become “philosophically grounded, historically informed and socio-politically engaged besides being competitively adept”.
Professor Arjun Jayadev, who has already taught a CORE course at UMass Boston (as well as being one of the authors of the material), will be teaching APU’s first batch of undergraduates: “They will have the CORE sequence as their first year economics. It will be an interesting challenge, because the incoming students will be from a variety of backgrounds and many of them will be taking economics for the first time. It is a more demanding course than others and so I think it will be engaging for students who wish to have both a better grounding in contemporary economics, and more important a way to understand the complex workings of the economy.”
APU hopes to engage its students, in part, through translations into Kannada and Hindi, but also using CORE’s focus on real-world topics.
“Making the syllabus speak to them and their concerns will be the first priority for me as a teacher. My sense is that CORE has enough inbuilt flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and also to give students the best of some current economics,” Arjun explains, “Including major debates on inequality, the environment, the role of the government, innovation and the like will allow students an early sense of the exciting possibilities that an economics education can provide.”