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Bengal govt announces 4-year UG honours course from this session; many teachers’ bodies slam decision

June 1, 2023

The West Bengal government on May 31, announced introduction of a four- year honours course at the undergraduate level in all government and state-aided higher educational institutions from this academic session.

In a statement, the higher education department said the decision has been taken after holding talks with all stakeholders and on the basis of recommendation of a state-appointed expert panel which had suggested rolling out a four-year UG course from the 2023-24 academic year.

It will replace the existing three-year course.

While three teachers’ bodies slammed the decision , a pro-Trinamool Congress professors’ body said the state should not lag behind when the same 4+1 formula (four year UG and one year PG) is being rolled out in rest of the country from this academic year.

The key features of the National Education Policy, 2020, include a four-year honours course at the UG level in place of the existing three years and a one-year postgraduate course instead of two years, or 4+1 format in place of the erstwhile 3+2 format.

The West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA), All Bengal University Teachers’ Association (ABUTA) and Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) decried the announcement made by the state Higher Education department describing it as “ill-conceived with an eye on corporatising the education sector”.

However, the West Bengal College and University Professors’ Association (WBCUPA) said the new module should get a chance for implementation in the state as “our students should not lag behind their counterparts elsewhere”.

President of WBCUTA Subhadoy Dasgupta told PTI, the decision was nothing “short of betrayal” by the state government which had given the impression of opposing the draft of the New Education Policy for over two years since 2020 and “did a volte face” in 2023 by throwing their weight behind the NEP all of a sudden.

ABUTA general secretary Goutam Maity said, after dithering on the issue for months, the government has finally come up with an announcement at a time when UG admission is about to begin and colleges do not have enough classrooms if the honours course is extended by one year.

“No planning has apparently taken place,” Maity said.

WBCUPA president Krishnakali Basu said even if there are infrastructure issues at the beginning while implementing the four-year honours course , things will gradually fall in place and students will hopefully reap the benefits of the 4+1 formula once everyone gets used to it.

“As the four-year honours course, which is an important feature of NEP 2020, is being implemented across the country, how can students from West Bengal lag behind? That will affect them academicially,” Basu said.

JUTA general secretary Partha Pratim Roy said in a statement, “While the admission in UG courses in private educational institutions have started already, the state has taken the decision to introduce 4-year honours course in state-run higher educational institutions at the last minute, without boosting their infrastructure. It is aimed at weakening state-run institutions to pave the way for handing them over to the private sector”.

Source: PTI

Also Read: Bengal school jobs scam accused Sujay Krishna Bhadra arrested by ED

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