These two ideas of UGC may reform education in India, liberate students

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COIMBATORE: The UGC has finalised in idea-level two new programmes to reform higher education in the country — ‘national academic credit bank’ and ‘semester outreach programme’ — and formed teams to frame regulations for the same, said University Grants Commission vice-chairman Bhushan Patwardhan on Wednesday.

Patwardhan was in Coimbatore to participate in the 33rd Biennial Conference of Home Science Association of India held at Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, he said the ‘national academic credit bank’ would allow students to earn credits from any course at any university across the country or even abroad.

“Universities should decide how many credits are needed for degree and how many of these credits need to be from the particular university to get the degree of that university. Students can earn the remaining credits from any course in institution in the country or even abroad. There would be a mechanism to process the credits,” he said.

This would enable a multi-disciplinary approach and liberate students towards a ‘multiple entry multiple exit’ process, he said.

The UGC would implement it in a pilot scale either with only PG level courses or with a new liberal education programme or in selected universities, he said.

Another idea was the ‘semester outreach programme’, where students would be sent outside the campus to get experiential learning from various sectors, such as banking, agriculture, community work and others. “While such activities are now being done as NCC and NSS programmes or as extra-curricular activities, we seek to make it a structured credit-based course,” he said.

The UGC has formed teams to frame regulations for the programmes and it would be finalised in six months, he said. “These methods are challenging to construct and implement. But these would not be made compulsory,” he added.

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