Mumbai: The state's steering committee for implementing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in colleges and universities has suggested a gradual rollout of the new policy starting with single major four-year undergraduate (FYUG) programmes in the upcoming academic year 2023-24.
The panel, which submitted an interim plan on Saturday for incorporating NEP's provisions in the state's higher education framework, has recommended allowing the colleges with post-graduation (PG) sections to extend their three-year UG degree courses to four-year honours programmes. The committee however advocates that only the colleges with attached research centres be permitted to offer research component in FYUG.
The new guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) last year regarding four-year honours UG programmes, provide for offering students a choice between single major and double major, or specialisation, as well as interdisciplinary subjects. The higher education regulator also proposes to include research work and internship in the curriculum in the fourth year to grant research degrees.
However, the 14-member committee, which was appointed last year, wants the state to move in a phased manner. It suggests that while in the first phase of NEP implementation, the universities and colleges add a fourth year to their three-year UG programmes, but limit their course offerings to single specialisation. It expects all the varsities to adopt the new framework by 2026-27.
"The recommendations were made after consulting stakeholders. They can be released publicly to get more input. As of now, our focus is is to create awareness about the benefits of FYUG among students and parents... Other aspects of NEP such as multi-disciplinary courses can be taken up at a later stage," said former Vice-chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University Nitin Karmalkar, who heads the committee.
The panel last month had a meeting with representatives of the state's public universities at Kavi Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon to discuss NEP implementation. A number of sub-committees have been formed to prepare detail plans for various aspects of the policy.
Common course skeleton priority for Maharashtra
Karmalkar said that the state's priority is to put in place a common course framework and academic calendar across all 13 non-agriculture universities of the state so that students can move from one university to another while carrying their academic credits.
The panel has recommended offering 120-132 credits for three-year degree programmes and 160-176 credits for FYUG. According to the committee's proposal, 50% of these must be for core subjects and the rest can be earned through electives. The students can earn up to 40% of the credits through online courses. The students exiting the course after the first and second years will get a certificate and diploma, respectively, provided they earn a certain number of skill development credits.
The committee has also suggested allowing students to earn some credits from education institutes other than their own, though they are supposed to get all their major credits from their parent college or university department. It has suggested that colleges reorganise their UG and PG departments into different 'schools'.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)