The Indian government released the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 earlier this year, with an aim to revolutionize the Indian education system. One of the main attractive features among the various recommendations has been the proposed comeback of the 4-year system for the undergraduate courses.
The committee which was headed by the former ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Kasturirangan recommended a plethora of proposals which aim to transform the methods of teaching from the primary level to the higher education level. The committee, which was initially set up in June 2017, has also given proposals to make changes in the teacher training methods and has opened doors for more research.
The 4-year undergraduate program has been tested before also when it was introduced by the HRD ministry in the Delhi University as FYUP. Overdue for long, 4-year UG programmes are expected to improve the present standards of education. Some of the major benefits of such a program are:
They bring the Indian Education System at par with the Foreign Education System.
FYUP focuses more on research-oriented teaching.
Students get deeper understanding of the discipline through an extra 1-year.
Through an extra devoted 1-year in their course curriculum, students will be able to opt for internships, fieldworks, research training and other industrial exposure in a better way. This will further help in their skill-building process and will thus open multiple doors of employment for them.
These reforms are in accordance with the committee’s quest to address the challenges of:
The biggest benefit to students from 4-year UG programme will be the ease in pursuing abroad courses. Many foreign universities don’t recognize the 3-year degree courses as equivalent to an undergraduate degree. So, students often end up pursuing a 1-year diploma course to complete their 4 years of undergraduate education.
The draft NEP also has a provision for those who want to continue with their 3-year degree courses. As per the committee recommendations, both the 3-year and 4-year course curriculums will exist together. Also, there will be multiple exit and entry options if students want to switch between the two.
The committee has also provided proposals for the overall development of the faculty involved in the teaching of students enrolled in such programmes. The committee has observed a drop in the motivation of teachers to teach students. The 4 major factors contributing towards this are:
Poor service conditions
Heavy teaching loads at higher institutions
Lack of autonomy
No clear career progression system
The committee has proposed some solutions to tackle these challenges. These include:
A Continuous Professional Development Programme.
A Permanent Employee Tracking System in all institutions by 2030.
A student-teacher ratio of maximum 30:1.
There is also a suggestion for disbursal of more grants from UGC to tackle the lack of research facilities in both affiliated and autonomous colleges.
By focusing on permanently introducing a 4-year UG program structure in India, the government aims to equalize our system with the foreign education system. Not just the research facilities, this will also put our teachers at par with those recognized globally.