Following guidelines from National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 a number of universities are going to start the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUGP) from the upcoming academic session, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
This shift in the higher education system reflects a progressive step towards comprehensive academic development aligning with international standards, offering students more opportunities & flexibilities for advanced study.
The Central universities opting for the four-year UG courses are — Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Viswa Bharti university, Assam University, Tezpur University Central University of Jammu, Sikkim University, National Sanskrit University and Maulana Azad National Urdu University.
The Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, English And Foreign Languages University, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Rajiv Gandhi University and central universities of Haryana, South Bihar and Tamil Nadu have also joined the list.
The other universities include over 40 deemed-to-be universities, 18 state private universities and 22 state universities.
The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, had recommended that the undergraduate degree be of either three- or four-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications — a UG certificate after completing one year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a UG diploma after two years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a three-year programme.The four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the students, the policy had recommended.
In accordance with the NEP 2020, the UGC had formulated a new student-centric “Curriculum and Credit Framework for Undergraduate Programmes (CCFUP)” incorporating a flexible Choice-based Credit System (CBCS), multidisciplinary approach, and multiple entry and exit options.
“The existing CBCS though , provides a flexibility for students to choose from a range of disciplines; it lacks multi or inter-disciplinary flavour. In its efforts to revise the CBCS, the UGC has developed ‘Curricular Framework and Credit System for FYUGP’ by taking into account all relevant policy recommendations of NEP, 2020,” as shared by UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar.
The FYUGP seeks to equip students with the capacities in fields across arts, humanities, languages, natural sciences, social sciences; ethics of social engagement; soft skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, communication skills, along with rigorous specialisation in a chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary major and minor.
“Students pursuing four-year undergraduate programmes are required to demonstrate a general understanding of the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, interdisciplinary studies, and vocational education as well as in-depth study of at least one subject area,”as narrated by UGC Chairman.
The framework suggests a credit range of 20-22 credits per semester. Semester 1, 2 and 3 seek to develop an understanding of all major areas of learning such as natural sciences, social sciences the humanities, mathematical and computational thinking and analysis, and vocational education.
Students will choose a disciplinary or an interdisciplinary area of learning for specialisation as major and minor in semesters 4, 5 and 6.
In semester 7 and 8, they will take up research projects along with advanced disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses. The framework specifies curriculum components of FYUGP along with the credit apportionment.
“A suggestive credit structure for FYUGP with 160 credits is also given in the framework. The curricular framework and credit system developed by the UGC for undergraduate programmes emulating the limitless learnings existed in the ancient India will throw infinite opportunities to students, we hope,” Mr Kumar said.
The UGC Directives suggest that within the framework of the four year Under-graduate programme students will be conferred with the “UG Honours” Degree accompanied by a Research specialisation . Similarly, PG Programme will be of One year instead of the erstwhile 2 year format. However it is not mandatory for everyone to pursue 4- year UG Programme.