In the backdrop of some teachers' bodies slamming the West Bengal government's decision to introduce a four-year honours course at the undergraduate level from this academic year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the decision to adapt to the new system was taken so that students from the state could compete at the national level.
Noting that the new policy, recommended by the UGC, would be advantageous for the students as they would now be requiring only one year to complete their Masters degree, Banerjee said that her government had to accept it because other states were adapting to it.
"Earlier, we used to see that three years were needed to complete graduation. Now, a change has been brought in. Those pursuing graduation in 'pass course' will need three years to complete the course while those in honours courses will require four years as suggested by the UGC. There is an advantage. You will require only one year to complete your Masters degree. So the matter remains the same," Banerjee said.
She was speaking at a programme to facilitate the toppers of the board examinations. "If other states are accepting it and we do not, then our students will not be able to compete with them (at the national level). That is the reason we had to adapt to it," she said.
The West Bengal government on Wednesday announced the introduction of a four-year honours course at the undergraduate level in all government and state-aided higher educational institutions from this academic session.
It said that the decision was taken after holding talks with all stakeholders and 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. It will replace the existing three-year course.
While several teachers' bodies slammed the decision, a pro-Trinamool Congress professors' body said the state should not lag when the same 4+1 formula (four-year UG and one-year PG) is being rolled out in the rest of the country from this academic year.
The 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.