The University Grants Commission is contemplating bringing four-year Undergraduate course in all the streams back on the table, with an aim to promote and improve quality of research in colleges and universities. If implemented— as recommended by the expert committee constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) — graduates will be allowed to join PhD programme directly and would be awarded the degree without the scholars having to publish academic papers.

Academicians in the city are of the view that the move would serve the purpose only if it is flexible.
It may be recalled that the National Education Policy 2019 has also recommended four-year UG courses with multiple entries and exit points. While the four-year undergraduate courses are a norm in advanced countries, Indian experience has not been great.

Delhi University which had introduced it in 2013, had to roll it back after the HRD Ministry scrapped it a year later. However, its propagators say it would mean a year less for getting the degree certificate. Currently, a student has to obtain a three-year undergraduate (UG) degree followed by a two-year postgraduate (PG) degree before getting enrolled in the PhD course.

The report “Promoting and Improving the Quality of Research in Indian Universities/Colleges,’’ by the committee headed by professor P Balaram, former director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, stated, “Increase the number of universities offering four-year undergraduate programme, with a strong research component to provide the pipeline for good quality students for the doctoral programme.”

UGC invites feedback

Prof V Venkatramana, the vice-chairman, Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE), said that both three and four-year degree courses should be allowed to co-exist with multiple entries and exit points with a lot of flexibility for the students.

“We do not want to lock students in a four-year course unless there is flexibility. And even with entry and exit option, there needs to be more clarity on what the course will be, what the electives will be, if there will be an internship component, evaluation, and teaching methodologies, among others,” he said.

4-yr course to make a comeback?

Draft NEP 2019: Both three-year and four-year courses will be allowed to co-exist, but with multiple exits and entry options.
Prof P Balaram Committee report:  Increase the number of universities offering the four-year UG program, with a strong research component to provide the pipeline for students

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