Darjeeling: The North Bengal University (NBU) is starting an Undergraduate course in tea science thereby becoming the first UGC recognised university to provide such a course.
The ailing tea industry is also expected to get the much required academic fillip, especially in the avenue of research and development with such courses becoming popular.
The NBU has introduced BSc (tea science) as an undergraduate course from this academic session. There are institutes offering diploma courses in tea management but not a full fledged undergraduate course in tea science.
'This is for the first time that any university (other than agricultural universities) is offering a full time undergraduate regular course on completion of which students will be awarded a BSc degree approved by the UGC. It is not a self financed course,' said Nupur Das, Secretary, undergraduate council of the NBU.
As many as 20 seats are available for the course. Students having passed the Class 12 Board examinations with science successfully can apply for this course. 'On campus hostel facilities and a well equipped library are also available for this science based course. In future if a student wants to continue higher studies the option of MSc (tea science) M Phil and PhD is also offered by the NBU,' added Das.
The department of tea science is the only UGC approved department of its kind in India. It was established in 1995. Initially the department used to offer a professional course, post graduate diploma in Tea Management on self financed basis. From early 2010 the department started the MSc, M Phil and PhD programmes.
NBU will involve experts from the tea industry and plantations to provide hands-on training on tea tasting along with interactive seminars and workshops,' added Das.
'This course would augur well for the tea industry of North Bengal and Assam,' stated Sandeep Mukherjee, Chief Principal Advisor, Darjeeling Tea Association.
Two years ago NBU had introduced an undergraduate course in Geology and in 2019 the university had introduced an undergraduate course in Anthropology. It also offers MSc in Anthropology. 'These integrated courses are in line with the new education policy of the country whereby composite undergraduate and postgraduate courses are being offered by the university,' said the Secretary.