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When the four-year-degree courses start

When the four-year-degree courses start

Kerala state government has started awareness classes for starting four-year degree courses this academic year in all universities of the state. Awareness is primarily given to college principals and academic coordinators. The government aims to improve higher education and higher education opportunities and find a solution to the dependence of the State's students on foreign countries in search of better education through four-year degree courses. The courses will officially start in July. With this, the current three-year courses will be abolished. However, the students will also have the opportunity to complete the studies by obtaining certain credits in three years and graduate in the current manner. Kerala University had started four-year undergraduate courses in the state last year. The courses were started under the university's Centre for Undergraduate Studies. The course has received a good response from the students and the academic community. Current students also share good feedback as learners. Last year itself, it was considered to launch the course in other universities as well, but due to the concerns raised by the academic community, it was postponed to this year.

A major advantage of the new pattern is that students can choose subjects according to their own interests in four-year undergraduate courses. One subject or multiple subjects can be chosen in one stream. A student who completes three years can receive the degree and leave the course through the exit option. At the same time, they can also study in the fourth year and get an honours degree. A student who has studied for four years and obtained an honours degree can also obtain a master's degree by studying one more year through lateral entry. The fourth year will mainly consist of internships, training in various fields, research, etc. The course will also be helpful for more job opportunities. Colleges and universities themselves will provide the necessary assistance. The decision that even those without a master's degree can join research becomes easier for those pursuing an honours degree in research. The UGC has also announced that the National Eligibility Test- NET exam will be implemented for those who graduate after completing four years. It was by following the recommendations of the Commission for Reforms in Higher chaired by Dr Shyam B Menon that the structural changes are being made in the undergraduate courses in the state. The Curriculum Committee for Higher Education was also formed to bring about necessary changes. In accordance with the National Education Policy, many states are shifting the degree courses to four year programs.

While the National Education Policy envisages a four-year undergraduate course with provision for students to exit in the first, second and third years, Kerala has an exit facility only in the third year. Kerala follows a different approach with the rationale that providing exit facilities every year will lead to dropouts in the higher education sector. At the same time, there is a need to examine how prepared the state's universities and colleges are to start new types of courses. Self-sufficiency should also be ensured in terms of teacher vacancies, buildings, libraries, laboratories, vocational training facilities, access to national and international journals, etc. The new courses are starting in Kerala at a time when the neighbouring state of Karnataka is discontinuing four-year courses and moving to three-year courses. Karnataka reasons that three-year courses are good for students to familiarize themselves with international education, especially American education, and for higher studies. The Karnataka State Higher Education Council also pointed out that this system was not good for the poor, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, women and girls in rural areas. The lack of physical facilities also hampered the course. The new reforms will be successful in Kerala only if the state government ensures that the state does not repeat the shortfalls of Karnataka.

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TAGS:KeralaEditorialfour-year degree courselateral entry
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