Four-year UG programme will elevate Kerala's higher education to global standards: CM Pinarayi

While the government claims the transition to FYUGP would strengthen manpower development, a section of academics have cautioned that the reform would ‘trivialise’ academic pursuits to mere vocational training.
Mayor Arya Rajendran reminds Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about his handkerchief that he left at the table during the state-level inauguration of the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme at Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday. Higher Education Minister R Bindu and Kerala University Vice-Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal are also seen
Mayor Arya Rajendran reminds Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about his handkerchief that he left at the table during the state-level inauguration of the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme at Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday. Higher Education Minister R Bindu and Kerala University Vice-Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal are also seen Photo | B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a significant milestone in the state’s higher education sector, the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUGP) was rolled out in universities and affiliated colleges across the state on Monday.

While the government claims the transition to FYUGP would strengthen manpower development and research initiatives in the higher education sector, a section of academics have cautioned that the reform would ‘trivialise’ academic pursuits to mere vocational training.

Compared to the traditional three-year degree programme, FYUGP would enable students to pursue three broad pathways. They can opt for three-year UG degree, a four-year UG honours degree, and four-year UG honours with a research degree.

Students who want to exit after three years will be awarded a UG degree in their major discipline. They will have to successfully complete the required minimum of courses with 133 credits.

While a four-year UG honours degree will be awarded to students who complete with a specific number of courses with 177 credits, those who want to pursue research can opt for the ‘honours with research’ course in the fourth year.

Launching the programme, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called it a significant step towards elevating the state’s higher education sector to global standards. He called for changes in the academic sphere in tune with the changes in the technological and vocational sectors.

The CM noted that higher educational institutions across the world have transformed from knowledge centres to centres providing skills and jobs. This was why the government decided to make changes in the structure and content of UG courses, he said.

“The four-year programme would provide students the option to tailor courses based on their skills and aptitude. They will also be able to pursue a vocation along with studies as the skills required for the job market are imparted as part of the programme,” he said.

A section of academics and cultural activists said restructuring traditional BA, BSc and BCom three-year courses to FYUGP would have ‘far-reaching consequences’. In a joint statement, they said the very objectives of higher education would be undermined as FYUGP does not allow students to choose a major subject in the first two semesters.

“The entire university system will be under threat. The reform will also turn many language and science teachers redundant,” the academics and cultural leaders including Prof M N Karassery, J Prabhash and Sara Joseph, opined.

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