The possible scrapping of Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc.) four-year under-graduation programme (FYUP) has piqued faculty, students and those associated with the institute, who have criticised the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s move.
The former director of the IISc. P. Balaram, during whose tenure the programme was introduced, described the Ministry’s current approach as “retrograde”, and added that the move “will dampen any kind of innovation in education.”
The government must consider that the IISc. is the only Indian institute with a global ranking, he said. “It has a 100-year history and an even longer future, and must keep evolving with the times.” Several crores of rupees had been invested in creating cutting-edge labs and research equipment, he added.
Around 450 students are presently enrolled in the IISc.’s UG programme. The course, which started in 2011, was designed as an interdisciplinary one. In the first three semesters, students’ core courses are in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, engineering and humanities, while the fourth year involves research-oriented projects supervised by a faculty.
A third-year student in the UG programme, Suhas Mahesh, described the move as “a terrible decision” by the Centre. “Unlike Delhi University’s case, here both IISc. faculty and students actually want the FYUP,” he said. Students take three competitive exams to make it to the course, and are each supported by scholarship.
Amid apprehensions over the future of its FYUP, IISc. wrote to the Ministry on Thursday. The Ministry’s communication to the institute has not directly spoken of terminating the FYUP, but it has suggested that the IISc.’s course does not align with the UGC guidelines, IISc. director Anurag Kumar told The Hindu .
“We have studied the guidelines and are in discussion with the Ministry. But what happens next we cannot be sure,” he said.
“Our main concern here is that students’ interests are protected.”