There had been a sea change in the demand pattern for a graduation degree in Economics and Commerce in this era of globalisation when the boundary of economic transactions is expanding with new features some of which had been unheard of even in the recent past. With capital account convertibility economic transactions particularly with respect to the new and ever developing financial instruments are being studied and the skill for understanding and utilising the decision tools based on the new found wisdom is increasing at a breakneck pace. The demand for understanding the instruments captured in terms of the balance sheet data is also a new area of study; commercial transactions just in terms of some entries in the form of debits and credits, is no longer considered as sufficient for any graduate and post graduate level study in the discipline of Commerce. There is also a felt need to transcend the streak boundaries of Economics as a discipline in order to accommodate various political, sociological, legal and environmental issues. Finance is one but not the only one area of study in Economics of the present day world. The courses in Economics which are being offered nowadays will have to take in account these factors. So also is the reality with respect to a graduate level course in Commerce discipline. Commerce as a discipline nowadays is an amalgamation of a host of issues hired from other disciplines – not only Economics per say but also the knowledge of information technology, quantitative techniques, law and justice including the issues related to legal measures on cyber-crimes in commercial transactions.
As an academician I felt the need of a thorough revision of what we usually teach in the discipline called Economics. The same is true with respect to Commerce as a separate discipline. The students must know the economic logic in the context of the present day world apart from the basic courses on the theories of macro and micro economics. A bundle of soft core subjects needs to be accommodated in the graduation course of Economics. The soft core subjects may be oriented towards studying the problems of finance in the global context, the rationale behind the tools which are being developed nowadays for analysing the financial issues. In order to contextualise these soft core subjects some theoretical papers like Political Economy of Development and Institutional Economics that retraces the historical development of the major theoretical ideas that have dominated the modernist discourses much of which has now become the part of the received wisdom of the subject. The courses should offer specialisation even at the graduation level so much so that the courses are to be made more goal oriented. One might specialise in finance after a proper training in basic macro and micro economic logic, one may as well specialise in economics of education, health, gender and political economy of power.
A revision in the courses covered in the subject area of Commerce is badly needed for educating the students with the knowledge of transactions that take place in the modern world. Knowledge of accounting at the undergraduate level is of course a prerequisite but then a Commerce graduate nowadays also needs to know the tools of financial accounting and the rules of banking along with a proper training in the areas of financial engineering, financial and bank risk management, should constitute a part of the course to be offered for the students at the graduation level in the discipline of Commerce. What I feel is that, goal oriented restructuring of the courses, without compromising the knowledge on the core area of the subject, should constitute the basis of learning in a particular discipline. This is what we should do with respect to any subject including Economics and Commerce.
It is unfortunate but true that the courses in Economics and Commerce which are still being offered in the traditional universities fail to meet the need of the changing time. The academicians should perceive this problem properly and the goal oriented restructuring of the course curriculum should be taken up. One must keep an eye on the issues which are emerging in the subject area, how the demand pattern for the graduates in the subject is changing and how one can meet this demand from the academic institutes by restructuring the course contents one cannot survive in this competitive world unless one understands what is the need of the changing time, changing society and the changing profile of the job market. There should not however be any compromise on knowledge in the core area of a subject because everything has to be grounded on the firm basis of basic concepts of a subject.
Adviser to Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of Economics and Commerce, Adamas University, West Bengal