Panel moots 4-year UG course

Move aimed at achieving excellence in higher education

A high-level panel on higher education has recommended the present three year under-graduate degree programme in arts and science by universities be extended by one more year incorporating a general course offered in the first year wherein students are exposed to a variety of academic topics.

The recommendation is part of slew of measures suggested by a “Mission Group on Higher Education Policy” constituted by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) to provide a roadmap to the State government to achieve excellence in higher education.

In its report, the 11-member mission group headed by technocrat T V Mohandas Pai, has recommended that the second, third and fourth year in the extended UG programme should be designed to have 70 per cent mandatory courses in a subject of specialisation and 30 per cent electives.

“The undergraduate degree will have one major and one or more minors, thereby enlarging the skills set of the students.

Students should have the flexibility to take courses of their interest across all years of study and should be able to choose subjects across the disciplines of natural science, humanities and the social sciences,” the report states. The report was submitted to the State government on December 28.

The panel has also incorporated in its recommendation a blueprint to double the present Gross Enrolment Ratio (GRE) of 18 per cent in higher education by the year 2020.

The State government is already in possession of another report “Vision 2020” on the status of higher education in the State submitted by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council during September this year.

The present report submitted by the mission group on Thursday has 63 recommendations across six sectors covering student and faculty aspects, pedagogy practices, vocational education, besides governance and administration in higher education.

The mission group has suggested that while formulating the curriculum for UG programmes, the Board of Studies of an university could design 75 per cent of the syllabus while the remaining 25 per cent could be designed by academic bodies of affiliated colleges based on local needs, students’ expectations and societal trends.

The panel has suggested that all State universities build a database of subject experts who can actively participate in the exercise of curriculum review.

To move away with rote learning and memorisation, the panel has recommended that a large part of the curriculum at the UG level be devoted to developing problem solving skills, application of knowledge and project work.

It has also suggested to amend and overhaul the Karnataka State Universities Act -2000 with regard to autonomy, fostering creativity among students and encourage research and innovation.

“The Act must promote innovation, experimentation and flexibility in the governance structure of universities. Otherwise, it will become an obstacle for growth and development of higher education,” the report states.

The mission group was co-chaired by Prof Sundar Sarukkai, Director, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities with KRS Murthy, former director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, H A Ranganath, director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore, Meena Rajiv Chandawarkar, vice-chancellor, Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur, Shivashankara Murthy, vice chancellor, Mangalore University among others as its members.

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