The West Bengal higher secondary examination results are due after about a month but the colleges are yet to get any official communication on the possible introduction of four year under graduate honours course from the next academic year.
The higher education department is yet to come up with any official communique about the issue.
Colleges and universities need to ready the infrastructure for any new arrangement, the president of West Bengal Council of Higher Education Chiranjib Bhattacharya has said.
Education minister Bratya Basu had in recent occasions said that there was wide consensus among experts for implementation of some key features of National Education Policy, 2020, like four-year honours course in UG courses in place of the existing three years and one year post graduate course instead of two years, or 4+1 format in place of the erstwhile 3+2 format.
"We have sent our recommendations to the higher education department after weighng the pros and cons of the erstwhile three-year honours system (3 year honours+2 year post graduation) and the new proposal for rolling out a four year honours system. We hope the higher education department comes up with its communication at the earliest," Calcutta University acting Vice-chancellor Asis Kumar Chatterjee told PTI.
Principals of several colleges in the city echoed him.
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Scottish Church College principal Modhumanjari Mondal told PTI that a workshop of principals of CU-affiliated colleges was held on the issue earlier this month. "But afterwards we have not got any further update from the higher education department. We hope to get definitive information soon before the publication of the Higher Secondary and plus two examinations of other boards".
Principal of government-run Lady Brabourne College, Siuli Sarkar said "We have to introduce the four year honours course if we are asked. But there is no notification from the government on the matter as yet."
If the four-year honours course is introduced this year, at the outset it will run parallely with the three-year honours course for second year and third year students. "So that issue has to be looked into and factored in the curriculum," she said.
Principal of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose College and president of West Bengal Principals' Council, Purna Chandra Maity said the institution will require 15 more classrooms if four-year honours course is introduced this year.
A retired principal of Vidyasagar College said the adding of an extra year in the undergraduate course will cause stress on the infrastructure and human resources in colleges which have separate morning, day and evening sessions like in Bangabasi, Surendranath, City College Amherst Street and Manindranath College.
Jadavpur University Teachers' Association general secretary Partha Pratim Roy said while the university faculty council has already approved implementing of the 4+1 format (four year honours course and one year post-graduation) which is necessary for an all India perspective, a lot needs to be done with regard to framework, drafting of the syllabus and overhauling the infrastructure.
"We are not even sure about the steps being taken to change the statute and regulation of the university for effecting the changes," he said.
A large number of students from the districts and other states vie for seats in the colleges of the city.
The All Bengal University Teachers' Association (ABUTA) said the opinion of stakeholders should be taken into account before implementing the four-year honours model in the state varsities.
"The four year course, based on UGC curriculum and credit framework, will make core subjects unimportant by reducing their credit points and make vocational streams more important undermining the basic nature of higher education," ABUTA general secretary Goutam Maity said.
This was a bid to corporatise education, he claimed.
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