Integrated masters course on anvil at central varsity

Patna, Jan. 16: The fledgling Central University of Bihar (CUB) proposes to launch a five-year integrated masters course, subject to the government notifying the possession of land at Gaya and beefing up infrastructure at its makeshift headquarters at BIT here.

"The proposed integrated course is in alignment with the academic structure in the US and UK besides other global centres of excellence," CUB vice-chancellor Janak Pandey told The Telegraph. "We have decided to introduce MPhil and PhD programmes in some selected subjects from the 2013 session."

Pandey explained that the candidates keen to pursue higher education could seek admission in the proposed five-year course ' at present being fine-tuned by the academic council of CUB ' after completing their Plus Two.

"In the first semester, they would be imparted education in college-level introductory courses. They would move to specialisation with the advancement of years and academic semesters," he said. Two exit points have been built into the plan. "While students will be entitled to a graduation level degree on the completion of the third year, they will be entitled to the same with honours on successful completion of the fourth year," Pandey said. If they decide to complete five years, they would be entitled to a masters degree, he added.

Such structural innovations were necessary in view of the fact that foreign universities ' mainly in the US and UK ' were not admitting Indian students holding three-year graduation degrees in their masters courses. "Most foreign universities have the provision of four-year graduation course and as such they recognise a four-year degree course as a valid qualification to get admitted to the masters course. Our students pursuing higher education in the new structure will no longer face hurdles in getting into these foreign universities if they wish to move there," Pandey said.

The implementation of the proposed course is subject to the Union ministry of human resource development notifying the possession of 1,100 acres of land at Panchampur ' the abandoned airfield of World War II barely 15km from the Gaya railway station ' and the Bihar government "persuading" BIT to make available some more space to CUB.

"The defence ministry has already agreed to hand over the piece of land in Gaya to CUB. The Centre's team too has inspected the site and has given its approval report. The only thing is the Union ministry concerned has to complete the formality of notifying it," the VC said, hoping that the notification would be issued by March. He aired a request to chief minister Nitish Kumar to "persuade" BIT-Patna to spare "some more space" to CUB.

As of now, one of the two CUBs that is scheduled to be shifted to Gaya has been running masters courses in 16 academic disciplines, including MTech in computer sciences and MSc in life sciences, with 55 faculty members and 300 students. The process to acquire the land for the CUB that is to come up at Motihari has just begun, sources said.

Asked about the relatively low number of students and faculty members, Pandey, a former teacher at IIT Kanpur and former VC of Allahabad University, said: "Many global centres of excellence began with few students with poor infrastructure ' some even under trees."

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