Buoyed by the overwhelming response to the honours degree programme introduced in select colleges in the State this academic year, the Higher Education Department is mulling extending the programme to more colleges.

The department had awarded the programme to four colleges representing four universities — Women’s College, Thiruvananthapuram, (B.A. Honours English), Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, (B.A. Honours Economics), Victoria College, Palakkad, (B.Com Honours) and Brennen College, Thalassery, (B.Sc. Honours Mathematics). The courses have started in all colleges except Maharaja’s College.

“We have started the programme as a pilot project. If successful we will approach the State government to assign it to more colleges, including aided and private colleges,” P.K. Velayudhan, director, Collegiate of Education, told The Hindu.

He said the response to the programme exceeded all expectations though a high cut-off of 70 per cent was set for general category students, 60 per cent for Scheduled Caste students, and 55 per cent for Scheduled Tribe students.

Mr. Velayudhan said the quality of the syllabi made the programme acceptable to the public and student community. The fact that students from regular streams have expressed willingness to drop out to join the honours programme is proof of the popularity of the course.

Thomas Kuruvilla, principal, Government Victoria College, Palakkad, said the college received more than 1,000 applications for the 30 seats up for grabs.

“The seats were filled in a couple of days and we started the course on September 12. The up-to-date syllabus that keeps students in touch with the latest developments is the biggest attraction. We have also been told that classes could be conducted by roping in experts,” he said.

K. Laly, principal, Government Brennen College, Thalassery, echoed similar sentiments.

The college was able to fill up the seats in a single day and classes started on September 10.

“The course and its rich syllabus will definitely help students pursue higher studies in quality educational institutions,” she said.

Both the principals, however, pointed out the need for adequate teaching staff for smooth running of the course.

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