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Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Wednesday announced introduction of a four-year honours course at the undergraduate level in all government and state-aided higher educational institutions from this academic year.

In a statement, the higher education department said the decision has been taken after holding talks with all stakeholders and based on the recommendation of a state-appointed expert panel which had suggested rolling out a four-year UG course from the 2023-24 academic year.

“After consulting various stakeholders and keeping the future of students in mind, it has been decided by the competent authority in the State Government that the four-year UG level programme will be introduced in all Government/ Government aided/ Government sponsored Higher Education Institutions from the academic session 2023-2024. They shall be awarded degrees in accordance with the UGC national curriculum and credit framework for UG level programmes,” the statement said.

This will be in place of the existing three-year course.

Tracing the developments preceding the introduction of the four-year UG course, the statement said “The matter of introducing 4 years UG level programme in different state government/ state aided/sponsored Higher Education Institutions has been under consideration of the state government for some time. The state government constituted an expert Committee to examine the matter and submit a recommendation regarding the implementation of the National Curriculum and Credit Framework (NCCF), dated 31.01.2023.

“The Expert Committee has recommended the implementation of NCCF for 4 years UG courses from the academic year 2023-2024 in all government/aided/sponsored higher educational Institutions in the state through optimum utilisation of existing resource or self-mobilisation of additional resources, pending receipt of additional financial assistance.”

State Education Minister Bratya Basu told reporters last week that he will meet the chief minister very soon to hold detailed talks on the issue (4-year UG course).

With the results of the Plus-2 exams of the West Bengal Board declared last week, besides the publication of the results of the other all India Plus-2 level board examinations, several college authorities and teacher associations had expressed concern over the delay in issuance of any official notification on changing the duration of the honours course.

Some key features of the National Education Policy, 2020, include a four-year honours course at the UG level in place of the existing three years and a one-year postgraduate course instead of two years, or 4+1 format in place of the erstwhile 3+2 format.

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However, the proposed centralised online admission portal, through which a student can seek admission to any college by logging in, will not be in force this year and each college will have its own online admission system like previous years, the notice said.

Calcutta University Pro-Vice Chancellor Asis Chatterjee told PTI, “The government has issued a statement. Now we are expecting to get the notification soon. Once we get the same, it will be communicated to affiliate colleges”.

Scottish Church College Principal Madhumanjari Mandal said: “We are awaiting the communique from the CU authorities. Once we get the nod, the admission process will start”. 

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