Soon, students will be able to pursue two full-time degree programs simultaneously: UGC | Education

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As part of a major reform of higher education, the Center has decided to allow students to pursue two full-time, same-level degree programs simultaneously, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced on Tuesday.

UGC President, Mr. Jagadesh Kumar, said the reform is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which envisages multidisciplinarity and holistic education in the fields such as sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and sports.

“NEP 2020 recommends providing as much flexibility as possible for students to personalize and personalize their education so that they can receive a multidisciplinary and holistic education across disciplines. So, if students want to pursue two degrees simultaneously, they will now have an option. It all depends on the choice of the students,” Kumar said.

The two programs chosen by the students at the same time must be of the same level. For example, they can only pursue two undergraduate degrees or two postgraduate degrees or two degrees together.

According to the draft guidelines, a copy of which was reviewed by HT, students can pursue two full-time degrees in three ways. First, they can take both academic programs in physical mode provided that, in such cases, the class times of one program do not overlap with the class times of the other program. Second, they can follow one program in physical mode and another in online or remote mode. And, thirdly, they can simultaneously pursue up to two degree programs in online or distance learning mode.

Kumar said the provision will be applicable to non-technical courses affiliated with UGC. To be sure, it will not include engineering and medical courses.

“For example, if a student is pursuing a BA program in economics at a university or college in physics mode, students will also have the option of pursuing another degree program at the same level at a nearby university or college in night classes. The two universities or colleges must be close to each other. It is not possible to follow two programs in physical mode in two universities located in different cities”, declared the president of the UGC.

“Students can also pursue the second program from the same university or college from which they pursue the first if the respective university allows them,” he added.

The UGC has also warned that online programs under this provision should only be taken from tertiary institutions recognized by the commission or the Indian government to offer such programs.

The Commission plans to implement the reform from this year. “These guidelines are effective from the date of notification by UGC. No retroactive benefit can be claimed by students who have already completed two degrees simultaneously prior to notification of these guidelines,” the draft guidelines state.

Kumar further clarified that it will not be mandatory for the university to adopt these guidelines. “Once the guidelines are issued, universities can devise mechanisms, through their statutory bodies, to allow their students to take two university programs simultaneously. It will not be a mandatory requirement for them. But we hope that more and more universities and colleges will allow students to pursue two degrees together,” he said.

Admission into the two courses will also be through the existing process followed by the respective higher education institution, Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Kumar also clarified that students will not be allowed to use credits earned in one program to meet the requirements of another program. “Each program has its own credit requirements and they must meet them. They can use one set of credits for two degrees,” he added.

Asked about the possibility of overlapping exams, Kumar, “It will be at the institutes. If two institutions have a memorandum of understanding and have decided to let each other’s students take two degrees simultaneously, then they can easily schedule the exams. »

Meanwhile, faculty members at central universities have raised concerns over the announcement. Abha Dev Habib, Associate Professor at Miranda House College, University of Delhi (DU), said: “UGC, by issuing such guidelines, will dilute its full-time degrees and their value. For holistic growth, classroom time should be balanced with time for self-study, group study, extracurricular activities, summer projects, etc. Education is a social activity and students learn through interactions. You have to plan time for that. It’s one thing to allow students to earn degrees with extra credit, but allowing students to pursue two “full-time” degrees will be disastrous.

Rajesh Jha, a professor at DU’s Rajdhani College, said: “This will reduce the purpose of education to obtaining degrees rather than acquiring knowledge. How will it be possible for students to fulfill the requirements of two full-time degrees simultaneously. It is not humanly possible. »


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Fareeha Iftikhar is Senior Correspondent in the National Political Bureau of the Hindustan Times. She follows the Ministry of Education and covers the beat nationally for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different political issues.
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