Will four-year undergraduate courses make a comeback? Discussions on


Students across the country may need to spend four years in college to earn a bachelor’s degree, in line with a potentially controversial proposal the National Education Policy (NEP) Drafting Committee is set to submit. to the Department of Human Resources Development (HRD) in its report, Hindustan Times learned.

Senior HRD ministry officials discussed the proposal at length in a meeting, three people familiar with the matter said. The NEP committee has studied the matter extensively and reached consensus on the matter, which will require approval from the ministry, the people said on condition of anonymity.

“Engineering students spend four years to graduate, which gives them ample time to work on projects and attend internships or training. It is proposed that universities across the country also offer four-year undergraduate programs so that there is more time for other activities necessary for the overall growth (of students), ”said the one of three people familiar with the subject.

The University of Delhi’s experience with a four-year undergraduate program five years ago has proven to be controversial. The institution extended the duration of the three-year bachelor’s program by one year in 2013, but withdrew it the following year after protests from students and teachers and a confrontation with the University Grants Commission.

The university reinstated the three-year format shortly after then-Minister of Human Resources Development (HRD) Smriti Irani said the university should not “sacrifice the interest of students on the altar of prestige ”.

The four-year program was introduced by University of Delhi Vice President Dinesh Singh, who argued that the existing program does not necessarily put students in touch with real-life issues and that they were struggling to find a job. The students resisted the concept. “Sometimes they last three years. Sometimes four years. There is no consistency, ”said Kunal Sehrawat, vice president of the University of Delhi Students Union.

The Ministry of Human Resources formed a committee under the leadership of K Kasturirangan, former head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), to draft the NEP. The eight-member committee is expected to submit its report by March 31. Kasturirangan declined to comment.

“As the program will be spread over four years, this will leave enough time for students to undergo training that will also prepare them for jobs in the future,” said the second person, a senior official at the Human Resources Department.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said no proposals had yet been received.

People familiar with the issue have said that a four-year undergraduate course, if approved by the ministry, will only be for new entrants to the university and not those already enrolled in graduate programs. three years. “The committee’s report has not yet been received by the government. We will examine the proposal if it is made, with an open mind and after hearing all the stakeholders ”, R Subramanyam, Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of HRD.

Dinesh Singh, who has been criticized for how quickly the four-year format was introduced by the University of Delhi when he was vice-chancellor, welcomed the proposal.

“Better late than never. I am glad to see that wisdom has prevailed. I have always been a follower of a creative learning platform that enables a student to find their true calling in life. is not so much the number of years as the freedom and time to think combined with the use of hands that are needed in our undergraduate programs. Such knowledge in action encourages enterprise and creativity, ”he said. he declared.

“I am convinced that if properly implemented with due regard to not overloading students with theoretical knowledge, it will change the mindset of young people towards productive and creative enterprises. In the short time that we organized such a program at the University of Delhi, undergraduates started to research, create startups and become entrepreneurs ”.

Some other key NEP proposals should include more flexibility for students in the choice of technical and human subjects (eg they can choose chemistry and music). “The committee plans to introduce more courses on the humanities and social sciences in technical education. And to ensure flexibility in the nomenclature of courses, transfer of credits, online courses, MOOCs, eligibility, migration and recognition of prior learning, ”added the head of the Ministry of Human Resources.


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