Leading science institutions have recommended multiple options for Plus Two students who wish to continue in the science stream.

Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, have recommended multiple options for Plus Two students who wish to continue in the science stream.

These include five-year integrated M.Sc. programme, followed by Ph.D., three-year B.Sc. degree course followed by an integrated or dual-degree M.Sc.– Ph.D. programme (existing), or a four-year B.S. (Honours) programme followed by Ph.D. programme, without the need for a Master's degree.

In its report on re-structuring post-school science teaching programmes, the academies have also recommended that learning of science (and all other disciplines) in all the above models must be pyramidal and not a vertical high-rise.

Broad-based training

“The curriculum must provide a broad-based training of different disciplines of scientific enquiry with specialisation introduced as the student advances in training. All courses should be semester-credit based.

The first two semesters of the six semester (3 years) B.Sc. degree course should provide for learning of all major science disciplines by all students with the next four providing core training in two or three disciplines; the last two semesters may provide for Honours in one or two disciplines,” the report said.

The academies pointed out that all semesters of the B.Sc. and M.Sc. course should provide 15-20 per cent credits through courses in disciplines (in and outside science faculty) other than their major/ honours subjects, including communication skills.

The report said that courses in highly specialised subjects like biotechnology, bioinformatics, computer applications, nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology should not be allowed at school and undergraduate levels.

“All core courses must provide for 30–40 per cent credits through laboratory/field work; several of the lab exercises must be based on open-ended experiments.

Core courses

Students at M.Sc. degree level must undertake a dissertation and prepare a research project proposal.

A new four-year B.S. Honours programme may be introduced, following which the graduates can join Ph.D. programme,” it said.

The report said that B.S. (Hons.) programme would be credit-based semester system available for those passing out of the Plus Two level in science stream.

“The first four semesters will cover all major science streams as core courses. Students will opt for a major/honours subject in the last four semesters.

Each semester would have 15 to 20 per cent credits for elective courses in other fields, including communication. The last semester should provide research experience,” it said.

On successful completion of the four-year course, they would be eligible for seeking admission to Ph.D. programme, since it is expected that the four-year period would prepare them better than the conventional three year B.Sc. degree plus two year M.Sc. courses, and any deficit in a specific area can be made up through courses during Ph.D.

Credit-based lectures

The academies suggested that the first two semesters of Ph.D. programme will have credit-based lectures as well as laboratory courses.

Those not desiring to continue with Ph.D. may exit after successful completion of the course work with M.Sc. degree

The 4 year B.S. (Hons.) programme be introduced only where a good research base is available, it said.

The report suggested that mobility within basic sciences and between basic and professional courses be facilitated, including for Ph.D.

A system for regulated transfer of credits from one major to another major within the institute and also between institutions may be evolved.

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