In a major overhaul, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said in its new draft norms that students will be able to obtain an undergraduate 'honours' degree after completing a four-year course, instead of three years.
The draft, which was prepared by the UGC in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020, will most likely be notified on Monday, 12 December, according to the news agency PTI.
What is the current duration for the completion of undergraduate honours courses?
Currently, students get their honours degree after studying for three years in their respective courses.
What does the UGC's new draft say?
According to the draft, called "Curriculum and credit framework for four-year undergraduate programmes," students will be able to get an undergraduate honours degree in four years on the completion of 160 credits.
A common undergraduate degree, however, can be obtained in three years on completion of 120 credits.
Further, if students wish to pursue a research specialisation, they will have to undertake a research project in their four-year honours course.
"Students who have already enrolled and are pursuing a three-year UG programme as per the existing Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) are eligible to pursue a four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP). The university may provide bridge courses (including online) to enable them to transition to the extended programme," the draft stated.
If students leave the four-year course at any point, can they continue it at a later time?
The draft says that students will have multiple entry and exit options for the four-year programme.
If they leave the course before the completion of three years, they will be allowed to rejoin the course within three years of their exit and will have to complete the course within a stipulated time period of seven years.
Further, students will be given academic recognition on the basis of the number of years they take to complete a course.
If students exit the course after a year, they will be given a certificate. If they leave after two years, they will be eligible for a diploma, and if they exit after three years, they will be eligible for a Bachelor's degree with honours or research.
Will the rules be valid for all universities?
The move will not have any impact on students who had taken admission in the four-year undergraduate courses of Delhi University, which allows graduation with honours even to those students who exit the course after three years.
"The Delhi University regulations have been approved by our statutory bodies and we will continue with that. We will give an honours degree after three years as we have been doing since 1980. We have no plan of doing away with honours degree after three years," DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
DU was at the centre of months-long protests in 2014 when it was mulling the idea of introducing a four-year undergraduate programme. However, the Centre decided to withdraw its plans owing to the uproar it had caused.
(With inputs from PTI and Hindustan Times.)