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Will FYUP reduce the importance of PG programmes

With the Union Education Ministry wanting to start the implementation of a 4-year undergraduate course (FYUP) in all the universities of the country, especially in the central universities, the focus, for all practical purposes, may have shifted to the undergraduate programmes. Considering the fact that FYUP would comprise 4 years of college education with flexible entry and exit options, would the postgraduate programmes be undermined and be given the short shrift? Yogesh Singh, vice-chancellor, University of Delhi (DU), is of the opinion that postgraduate programmes would only be strengthened with the implementation of FYUP across universities.

“FYUP will supplement and add value to PG programmes since students who choose to complete four years of undergraduate education would be more inclined towards research and higher education. They would have the option to be eligible for one year PG programme (like in the European countries) while those who opt for three years of undergraduate education will get an honour’s degree and be eligible for the 2-year PG programme. What we are looking at is total 5 years of UG and PG education which can either be pursued in the new 4+1 format or the existing 3+2 format, as part of a more student-centric approach to higher education.”

Freedom of choice


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He adds further, “The aim is to break the rigidity of existing curriculums and give students the option to exit after three years or follow a research track in the final year of their FYUP so as to pursue one year of master’s programme. Not every student aspires to be a researcher or scientist, but the FYUP will make the transition to the PG programme more seamless if students choose to go in for master’s and later PhD programmes.”

In keeping with Delhi University’s plans of implementing the FYUP from 2022-23 academic year onwards, Singh informs that the DU Academic Council has decided the framework for FYUP in terms of semesters and credits while the Board of Studies will decide the course offerings. “Additionally, students of the UG and PG programmes will have the choice to undertake courses of neighbouring colleges/universities or opt for SWAYAM’s MOOCs, Coursera, edX etc depending on the quality of content,” says the former vice-chancellor of Delhi Technological University (DTU), where he recalls a large basket of course offerings that enabled Engineering students the option to pursue a minor in Economics, Design, AI or Biotechnology depending on their interests.

“In the coming years, PG programmes would become more research-intensive and pave the way for quality PhDs in our country. We still have around 2-3 years to implement the revamped PG curriculum more passionately, as the focus is now more on the FYUPs where enrolments are slated to begin in the new academic year,” Singh says.

Knowledge integration

The FYUP and one-year PG programme will help integrate knowledge and give students the flexibility to choose myriad courses, says Lingaraja Gandhi, vice-chancellor Bengaluru City University, that has recently rolled out the Multidisciplinary 4-year Programme and an Integrated Master’s programme from the current 2021-22 academic session under the new FYUP scheme. “The quality of the PG programme will be enhanced under the new initiative as FYUP will provide students the opportunity to earn credits through the UGC’s Academic Bank of Credits, and engage in internships, projects and research dissertation in line with NEP 2020.

Besides flexible entry and exit options, they can acquire 40% of the total credits through online courses that can be pursued anytime and anywhere. Such options will ensure students do not dropout of the education system as they have the freedom to choose and change streams not just in their own institutions but acquire credits from other institutions as well.”

He adds further that FYUP and master’s programmes will be integrated more than ever before as skill component and ability enhancement of the students are being integrated into the syllabi right from the first year (of the UG programme) itself. “Preparation for master’s programmes begins from the first year of undergraduate education where the focus is on core learning, allied learning (from sister disciplines) and open learning which in NEP parlance is called programme discipline, discipline elective and open electives respectively. These will ensure that students who choose to pursue PG education are equipped with critical and analytical thinking skills and are able to enjoy the autonomy of lifelong and continuous learning.”

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