They call for proper preparations and upgrading of the current infrastructure

A section of academics has raised concerns about the Kerala Higher Education department’s plan to launch four-year undergraduate degree courses in all State universities from the next academic year without proper preparations and upgrading of the current infrastructure.

The Confederation of Kerala College Teachers (CKCT), an organisation affiliated to the Indian Union Muslim League, is planning to raise these apprehensions before the government soon.

According to Jafar Odakkal, CKCT functionary, the proposal is silent about the running of postgraduate courses in the future. After four-year UG courses, the PG course duration can be reduced to one year. But there is no clarity on this so far. “These new programmes are supposed to offer higher academic flexibility to students and they will have the option to go for research after the third year. It remains to be seen how this is possible with the existing infrastructure and the structure of courses in colleges. Many government colleges don’t even have full-time principals now,” he points out. Also, teachers have not been trained and there is yet to be any proper communication between parents, students, and the academic community on this.

P. Yazir, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Farook College, Kozhikode, says that the concept of multiple pathways, the flexible study option enabling students to enter and exit courses, may not be the optimal approach for a State like Kerala. He says that it has not been endorsed by the National Education Policy 2020 and not adopted by any other State. “Our State has challenges in terms of facilities and the academic environment in higher education. Rather than pursuing multiple pathways, we ought to consider offering a combination of courses under categories like single major, major-minor, and double major,” Mr. Yazir says.


He also claims that the proposed curriculum framework for these new courses poses a significant concern related to the workload of teachers. “The hours allotted for Ability Enhancement Course (AEC) and Value Addition Course (VAC), which will replace general English and the second language, are going to get cut and discipline-specific courses will get more hours. The suggested hours for AEC and VAC seem insufficient and this inadequacy could disrupt the equilibrium of language teachers’ workload. Construing languages solely for market purposes exacerbates the issue,” Mr. Yazir says.

Mr. Odakkal claims that a perception is gaining ground that these courses are aimed at just enabling students to pursue higher studies abroad. “Our attempt should be to offer quality courses and well-paid jobs here other than encouraging brain drain,” he added.


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