4-year UG degree with ‘common’ courses, revised rules for PhD

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prepared draft frameworks which, upon implementation, will overhaul the higher education structure — from undergraduate degrees to PhDs — from the next academic session, in tune with the National Education Policy, 2020, reported Indian Express.

The frameworks, approved at the 556th meeting of the UGC chairperson and members on March 10, are likely to be soon published in public domain for suggestions and feedback.

UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar said the existing structure in undergraduate education “lacks multi or interdisciplinary flavour”. “Now, industries look for human resources with multiple capacities rather than specialists in one particular field. Therefore, students need to be exposed to a full range of holistic education, community engagement and service, environmental education and value-based education. Internships with local industry and businesses are also required in order to meet the demands of future jobs. For this to happen, the curriculum of general education needs to be transformed,” he said.

As per the proposed structure for four-year UG courses, students will study a set of “common” and “introductory” courses in natural sciences, humanities and social sciences during the first three semesters, regardless of what they choose to specialise in.

The common courses include English language, a regional language, and courses on “understanding India”, environmental science, health and wellness or yoga and sports, Artificial Intelligence and big data analysis among others during the first three semesters.At the end of the third semester, students will have to declare a “major”, which will be a subject they want to study in depth. The four-year course shall have 160 credits on offer, with one credit accounting for 15 hours of classroom teaching.

Students can pick their choice of “major” from a basket of courses ranging from astronomy and astrophysics to political science. “Both the academic interest of the student and his/ her performance in the first three semesters will be considered for allocating the disciplinary/ interdisciplinary major,” says the draft framework.

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