Teaching of Biology has greatly suffered in recent decades due to over-emphasis on the so-called molecular biology and biotechnology. It is high time that this disbalance is corrected. Biology is the most dynamic discipline, not only because the living systems evolve but also because with the availability of more extensive and penetrating research tools and approaches,our understanding about the living systems too continues to evolve rater rapidly. This obviously poses serious dilemma to the syllabus designers and to the teachers. The major problem actually stems from the fact that teachers try to provide as much "recent information" as they can and since the time remains limited, the students suffer 'information overload' and, at the same time, many of the fundamental and core Biology topics get ignored. Result is that students come out with some information about 'latest' developments (mostly about techniques) but without understanding of the basic principles..
In order to understand living systems, any curriculum should include, as core topics, diversity of living systems (not as rote memory, but as a consequence of evlution and adaptation), basics of cell biology, genetics, evolution, developmental biology, ecology, physiology etc. The more specialized topics should be built as a pyramid on these basic core subjects and thse can be selected by students as per their choices and the opportunities available at the given college/university..
Biology students must not be deprived of learning Physics, Maths etc, as happens in most of our university and college curricula. Likewise, the Physics and Maths students must also have opportunities to learn basics of biology..
Teaching should act only as a 'primer' rather than 'template' or 'polymerase' so that students get the concepts in classroom,get excited and find out the relevant information on their own (teachers can help them, again, only by showing the path, to where the information may be available). This would promote the basics of research to learn what is known. Likewise, in the laboratory, besides exercises which provide pportunities for learning the use basic methods and equipment, there should be more 'open-ended' exercises where the answer remains unknown, and therefore, stimulate students' thinking and analysis powers.Some of these can also become research projects at their level. The common practice of involving under-graduate students in a research being carried out in the teacher's lab is not always the best practice as the students only get to use some techniques wihtout understanding the underlying whys and hows.
Teaching and learning at under-graduate level (B.Sc.) should, in my view, never become specialized. This is where 4- or 5-year integrated degree courses become more useful since the students can continue to learn in a pyramidal manner rather than starting their M.Sc. learning again from ground 'zero' and thus lose their interest and valuable time.