Raj Bhavan, Bihar govt lock horn over launch of 4-yr degree course

The Bihar government does not support the aforementioned four-year programme and requested the chancellor’s office to reconsider their May 15 letter

Patna: The Bihar government has locked horns with Raj Bhawan over the launch of four-year degree (honours) course in arts, science and commerce under choice-based credit system (CBCS), as per University Grant Commission (UGC) regulations.

The Raj Bhavan or the office of Chancellor of universities had vide a letter on May 15 directed all state universities to introduce four-year bachelor’s degree courses under CBCS from the coming academic session this year.

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Taking exception to it, the state education department asked the Raj Bhawan to reconsider its decision for launching the new courses, when the ongoing courses are already over-delayed. KK Pathak, additional chief secretary, department of education, wrote a letter to Shailendra Shukla, officer on special duty (judicial), governor’s secretariat, with a copy to all the university vice-chancellors, seeking reconsideration of the governor’s letter for launching four-year graduation programme under the CBCS.

“The Bihar government does not support the aforementioned four-year programme and requested the chancellor’s office to reconsider their May 15 letter,” said a senior officer of the department, justifying the government’s decision to oppose the launching of new courses.

The official, citing Pathak’s letter, said that the state government is of the view that the universities should first complete the ongoing courses, particularly the delayed ones, only then it shall look for new courses.

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After a high-level meeting chaired by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar April this year, the Raj Bhawan had drafted a letter in May. Arlekar, who is also the chancellor of state universities, had approved the Ordinance and Regulations for the Bachelor of Arts/Science/Commerce (Honours) 4-year programme under CBCS as per University Grant Commission (UGC) Regulation (Curriculum and Credit Framework for Undergraduate Programmes).

Soon after assuming charge, he had asked vice-chancellors of all universities to not only to streamline the derailed exam calendar but also implement the four-year graduation programme with CBCS, a pre-requisite in most of the central universities and premiere institutions, from the present session itself to ensure uniformity in the state.

The Raj Bhawan had also directed the VCs of the state universities to “stick to a uniform exam calendar” and publication of results for the convenience of the students and sought status reports with specific timelines for clearing the exam backlog even if it required clubbing different sessions.

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A Raj Bhawan official said that the experts have completed the curriculum and syllabus for the initial two semester after the ordinance the universities began the process for launching the new course. The new pattern has also been passed by the academic council of the universities and even the Patna University has initiated the admission process.

Many educationists had seen the Raj Bhawan’s move as significant, as no university in Bihar had managed to implement the CBCS and semester system at the undergraduate level. Even at the post-graduate level, except Patna University, none could implement even a semester system till 2000 on one pretext or the other, the reason is a huge shortage of teachers due to just one centralised recruitment in the last two decades. Now most universities have started it at the PG level, but the session remains delayed.

The state government’s reluctance to the Raj Bhawan’s proposal for launch of four-year degree course has led to confusion among the universities about the start of the academic session. “The governor has been keen on introducing the four-year programme from this year itself. It remains to be seen how he responds to the state government’s refusal to accept the change,” said KB Sinha, working president of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association of Bihar, adding that it is not a good sign for the state universities.

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“The state government is of the view that the universities of Bihar presently ‘do not hold the capacity’ in terms of faculty, support staff and necessary classroom infrastructure, to take up any new programme given that their existing regular courses are running behind schedule. The delay with respect to the existing 3-year graduate programmes extends from a few months to more than a year. The post-graduate programmes are even more delayed,” says Pathak’s letter to Raj Bhawan.

Maintaining that the state government is taking every step to ensure that the universities become up to date with respect to their academic calendar within the next few months, Pathak has written that it proposes to issue an examination schedule, vide an official gazette for all the Universities under Section 30 of the Bihar State University Act, 1976.

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