The UGC directives suggest that within the framework of the four-year undergraduate programme, students will be conferred with a ‘UG Honours’ degree accompanied by a research specialisation. Also, in this structure, the PG programme will be of one year instead of the erstwhile 2-year format. However, it is not mandatory for everyone to pursue a 4-year UG programme. Going by the provisions of NEP, students are allowed to choose between a 3-year UG degree or a 4-year ‘Honours’ course. Under the updated UGC guidelines, students will now receive an ‘Honours’ degree upon completing a four-year programme instead of the traditional one with a three-year duration. Within this extended four-year curriculum, they will also be required to undertake a research project.
According to IANS reports, the four-year programme was implemented by 105 universities across the country at the beginning of the academic session 2023-24. The universities implementing four-year undergraduate courses included 19 central universities, 24 state level universities, 44 deemed universities and 18 private universities. These include Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Jammu Central University, Visva Bharati University, Rashtriya Sanskrit University and Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Now the number of these universities has increased to 150.
Experts observe that the revised draft of the four-year undergraduate programme will be of great help to students aspiring to pursue further education overseas. The growing trend among Indian students to study abroad is on the rise annually. Estimates suggest that until November of the previous year, over 600,000 Indian students sought higher education opportunities abroad. In contrast, the number stood at 444,000 in 2021. According to the findings of various surveys, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United States and Italy are the top 5 countries where more Indian students prefer to study.
According to the UGC, the newly-proposed 4-year curriculum and credit structure is in line with international standards. This enhanced global educational alignment brings a significant advantage: Indian students will now have wider opportunities for pursuing higher education in American and Western universities.
(With inputs from IANS)