Published by: Sheen Kachroe
Last updated: Jun 03, 2023, 1:37 PM IST
Against the backdrop of a number of teachers’ organizations criticizing the West Bengal government’s decision to introduce a four-year undergraduate-level honors course from this academic year, Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that the decision to adapt to the new system was designed to allow students from the state to compete at the national level.
Banerjee noted that the new policy, recommended by the UGC, would be beneficial to students as they would now only need one year to complete their master’s degree, and said her government should accept it as other states adapted to it. “Those who have passed Class XII should remember that we used to see that it took three years to graduate. Now a change has been made.
“Those graduating in the ‘pass course’ will take three years to complete the course, while those taking honors courses will take four years as suggested by the UGC. There is an advantage. You only need one year to complete your master’s degree. So the case remains the same,” said Banerjee.
She spoke at a program to facilitate the top students of the examination board. “If other states accept it and we don’t, then our students can’t compete with them (on a national level). That’s why we had to adapt to it,” she said.
The government of West Bengal on Wednesday announced the introduction of a four-year undergraduate-level honors course in all government and state-supported higher education institutions from this academic session. It said the decision was made after discussions with all stakeholders and on the recommendation of a state-appointed expert panel that had proposed rolling out a four-year UG course from the 2023-2024 academic year.
It replaces the existing three-year course. However, the state Department of Education has clarified that it has not adopted the National Education Policy (NEP) and will instead soon upload its own education policy. While several teacher bodies decried the decision to introduce a four-year honors course, a pro-Trinamool Congressional professor body said the state should not be left behind when the same 4+1 formula (four-year UG and one-year PG) is applied. will be rolled out in the rest of the country from this academic year.
The main lines of the National Education Policy 2020 include a four-year honors program at RUG level instead of the existing three-year and a one-year postgraduate program instead of two years, or a 4+1 format instead of the former 3+2 system. The CM congratulated the students on their results in the board exams and assured those who came from economically poor backgrounds of all kinds of help to pursue higher education.
“I would like to congratulate all parents, teachers and institutions for guiding these students to achieve their goals despite all the obstacles. I’m proud to say that ICSE and CBSE have done so well,” she said. Banerjee claimed that her government has spent Rs 1.5 crore to help at least 50,000 students pursue higher studies. The CM has also inaugurated the ‘Students’ Credit Card Mobile App’ and ‘Education Ecosystem Portal’, which are built to provide easy access to education.
“There are students who have written to me about their economic instability to support higher education. I’ll tell them not to worry. I personally went through all the letters and handed them over to the chief secretary. The education minister and the secretary are here and they will handle the matter,” said Banerjee. She also asked State Minister of Education, Bratya Basu, to keep a letterbox in the department so that financially unstable students can write their applications. “Take action quickly and keep me posted,” she added.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)