After more than 70 years of our political independence, the University Grant Commission (UGC) has finally woken up to the grim reality of changing educational landscape. The changes put forward by the commission are going to redefine how we understand degrees like Graduate, Postgraduate and Undergraduate.
Students can enrol in multiple degrees
University Grant Commission (UGC) has given its assent to possibly the oldest demand of Indian students. From 2022-23 sessions, you can legally pursue two degrees in a single academic session. It has been confirmed by none other than Mamidala Jagdesh Kumar, University Grant Commission (UGC) chairman himself.
In a virtual meeting with the media, Jagdesh informed that allowing students to pursue two degrees simultaneously is in accordance with National Education Policy (NEP) introduced by the Modi government. The flexibility offered to students will promote multi-disciplinarity among students. Jagdesh also emphasised that the move will provide more freedom to students when it comes to choosing their career pathways.
New Guidelines simplified the process
The University Grant Commission (UGC) chairman suggested that the move will facilitate both formal and informal education. “In the last commission meeting held on March 31, it was decided to issue guidelines which will enable students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously because the NEP 2020 emphasises the need to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education forms, in the sense that a combination of the physical model, as well as the online form, should be used to provide more freedom to the students to acquire multiple skills,” said Jagdesh.
The key derivations from University Grant Commission (UGC) guidelines are as follows-
- Students pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees in one subject can enroll themselves in another degree program with totally different sets of subjects. So, if you are pursuing B.Sc in Biology and you want to study Political Science as well, you can enroll yourself in a BA programme offering Political Science.
- Students can choose to get enrolled in the same University or any other University of their choice.
- If they choose to enroll in two courses, then it is upto them to choose how they want to attend. Depending on the choices they have made, they can pursue both degrees offering only online classes or both degrees offering only physical classes. Or, they could opt-in for a hybrid model in which they will have to physically attend classes in one programme while another programme will be available only in online mode.
- In case students opt for two degrees offered in only physical mode, then it is upto them to ensure that the classes’ timings do not overlap.
Speaking about the tenability of the Hybrid model of degree programmes, Jagdesh said, “With the rapid increase in demand for high-quality higher education and the limitation of only enrolling about 3 per cent of students on physical campuses, there have been many developments in the fields of open and distance learning, as well as online education. Many universities are now offering both offline and online programmes.”
A paradigm shift in Higher Education
UP until now, students having multidisciplinary interests had to kill their dreams in order to achieve their career goals. Students having an interest in Hindi literature had to enroll in the B.Tech programme to ensure that they get better opportunities after their graduation. In the process, a possible literary genius had to be curbed and eventually killed. With these new sets of guidelines, students will be able to pursue both degrees simultaneously. Later in their career, they could choose which degree will guide their future trajectories.
The move will also ensure that students in JNU like institutions do not browbeat more knowledgeable students from other degree programmes. Currently, even if an engineer knows more about the current events, his talks hold less legitimacy as compared to JNUite, apparently because he doesn’t have a degree in Social Studies. New University Grant Commission (UGC) guidelines will radically alter this equation and provide a level playing field for everyone.
University Grant Commission (UGC) equalising the landscape
University education in India has been ghettoised by the elites of this country. This made it either impossible or doubly difficult for an average student to obtain ‘Gyan’, the purpose for which Universities are built. University Grant Commission (UGC) has ushered in some tremendous efforts to change that.
Recently, the statutory body run by the Ministry of Education directed Central Universities to bring uniformity to the admission process in the country. To eliminate the exclusivity ingrained in the admission process in Universities, coveted institutions like Delhi University are now filling their seats based on marks secured by students in specially designed Central Universities Entrance Test (CUET).
University Grant Commission (UGC) has also proposed to change the structure of domain-specific institutions like IIMs and IITs. If UGC’s proposal is accepted by the education fraternity, then IITs and IIMs will be providing degrees in other streams as well. Simply put, it will allow AIIMS to offer engineering degrees and engineering colleges like IITs to offer MBBS.
To aid confused students, University Grant Commission (UGC) has introduced four-year degree courses. Those students confused about their career in their adolescent years can enroll in these courses where they won’t be required to declare their major in the first semester itself. It allows students to declare their major subject at the end of the third term only. Moreover, to promote innovation, UGC has made it compulsory for students to take up research in the final year of their four-year degree course.
University Grant Commission (UGC) is reviving the Indic civilization
Knowledge has been a treasure trove of Indic civilization. Before we were imperialised, it never happened that a particular class held absolute rights over the knowledge and its dissemination in the society. It is only during the last 1000 years that our institutions were hegemonized by the people not wanting BHARAT to achieve its potential.
University Grant Commission (UGC) has taken some revolutionary steps to change that. It will take some time for changes to manifest themselves, but young generations can rest assured that their children won’t have to go through the same rotten University system which they went through.