Kolkata: A representative body of university teachers on Monday accused the West Bengal government of plotting to hand over state-run educational institutions to the private sector by “blindly” following the recommendations of NEP 2020. It also accused the state government of not charting an independent course.
Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association general secretary Secretary Partha Pratim Roy said in a statement that while many other states did not go by the union education ministry’s National Education Policy, the “economically bankrupt state government is blindly following it to satisfy Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
He said the idea to introduce four-year honours graduate course from the existing three is not feasible and implementable in the state considering its infrastructure problems.
With few months left for the start of the new academic year in colleges, the education system will be plunged into chaos, he claimed. “How can infrastructure come up at such a short time for implementing a four-year honours course which will necessitate a total curriculum overhaul,” Roy said.
Recalling that the state government had formed a committee of eminent educationists to discuss the features of NEP 2020 and suggest alternatives, if any, Roy said, “It now appears that there was no need to constitute the committee if the state government had already made up its mind.”
He wondered if those having directly entered into the field of research after securing 75 per cent in the honours course after four years will be able to get good research facilities.
The JUTA statement was issued in the wake of the higher education department writing to registrars of all state universities on March 18 for “implementation of new curriculum and credit framework for undergraduate programmes in all the higher educational institutions of the state for the forthcoming academic session.
Roy told PTI that the move is aimed at diluting the state’s stake in the higher education sector by corporatising education and inviting private parties gradually.
“If such steps are taken, in the long run the interest of poor meritorious students wanting to pursue higher education will be compromised.”
The UGC letter of January 31 forwarded by the assistant secretary in the higher education department said the most important student-centric recommendation in NEP is the four-year undergraduate programme. Keeping in view the objectives of NEP 2020, the UGC has developed the curriculum and credit framework for undergraduate programmes.
The framework provides for holistic education by allowing students to experience courses from multiple disciplines through a three-year or four-year UG programme. It has multiple entry and exit options, flexible degree options with single major, double major, multidisciplinary-interdisciplinary education, integration with the vocational course, internship, and skill and ability enhancement courses.
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Officials in JU, Calcutta University, Presidency University and other state-run universities confirmed having received the letter from the higher education department but were evaluating steps.
A senior higher education official said the move was in sync with the UGC recommendations to rationalise higher education curriculum, but there was no thinking to involve private parties in the academic activities of state-run higher educational institutions.
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