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Tweak solution after IISc meddling

New Delhi, Aug. 12: The Indian Institute of Science and the University Grants Commission have agreed on a compromise formula to wriggle out of the latest controversy surrounding the four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) course.

The IISc’s proposal to tweak the four-year BS course to BSc (Research), making the fourth-year research voluntary, has been accepted by the UGC, even as students and parents continue to be unhappy.

The BS course will now be known as BSc (Research), with an exit option after three years as a general BSc programme while the fourth year will be devoted to research.

Students can quit after three years with a BSc degree. Those who complete the fourth year will get a BSc (Research) degree.

The Bangalore institute yesterday sent a letter suggesting it was ready to tweak the BS programme to BSc (Research). The UGC today accepted it, said officials in the UGC and the human resource development ministry.

The UGC had on August 4 written to the IISc asking it to discontinue the BS programme since it deviated from the 10+2+3 system provided under the National Policy on Education.

The commission had earlier made Delhi University roll back its four-year undergraduate programme on the same ground.

The UGC has also asked Shiv Nadar University, Noida, and Symbiosis International University, Pune, to discontinue their four-year under-graduate courses.

On August 7, the IISc wrote to the UGC asking it to reconsider its decision since the BS programme was a specially designed research-driven programme.

The UGC was not convinced with the nomenclature of the BS course as it was not among the ones listed by the regulator last month. Under Section 22 of the UGC Act, the commission has the power to specify the nomenclature of degrees and the duration of courses that offer such degrees.

The four-year BS programme was on the list of specified degrees brought out by the UGC in 2009 but that list has been superseded by the new list, which mentions a three-year BSc course.

Students are not happy. They say they were offered admission to the BS programme before the UGC started meddling in IISc affairs. Some parents have even threatened to go to court if the name of the course is changed.

The UGC’s interference in the IISc has drawn criticism from several quarters. Noted scientist C.N.R. Rao yesterday said the academic autonomy of the IISc should be respected.