Through the vision of the UGC and the Government of India, the idea of dual degree would certainly lead to achieving the intended goals of skill building and development of skills representing various fields in an individual.
The announcement of the dual degree concept by the University Grants Commission (UGC) is a welcome development and demonstrates UGC’s proactive initiative to provide multiple opportunities for students on Indian campuses. If there is a high-end reminder of the immediate gains of national education policy, it is the double degree that stands out!
A student pursuing a BE can now enroll in a BBA program at the same time.
The most ideal situation is for a student pursuing an MTech degree to also join an MBA. Or join an MCA as a first degree and an MBA as a dual/second degree.
A Masters in Engineering/MCA will make an individual very strong technically and in a chosen field. Adding an MBA to this student’s learning menu would provide him with the necessary skills derived from a management program. The skills of an MCA and an MBA are quite different. But if it is present in an individual, the movement towards decision-making levels is faster. An individual who acquires these multiple skills is definitely in a stronger position to imagine in their core specialization and turn that idea into a business proposition faster and with greater precision; with a greater chance of success. The new knowledge acquired through the MBA program would open up higher starting positions with corresponding salaries in the corporate sector.
Another example is the need for a civil engineer to require strong computer skills to remain competitive or even relevant in their profession. A good knowledge of the subjects of urban planning, architecture, human psychology and management becomes critical. The work of a civil engineer today should be seen in an enlightened society. Any civil engineering project can have an impact on the environment. The human factor becomes central. But the execution of the project must be entrusted to the civil engineer. The claim of the individual and society to common rights over the free flow of natural air, light, water, trails, the felling of trees and the disposal of new waste that would be created as a result of new construction is real. Thus, the apprehensions of the nearby community of possible discomfort and disaster for ecology, endangerment of health and life become real. In such situations, the judiciary might rightly disapprove of an executive or even a private operator if an individual’s rights are violated. Imaginary or real difficulties can go viral in a fully networked world. And the backlash is inevitable!
Great combos: BE/BTech in Computer Science (CSE) with Data Science and BSc Hons with Maths would be a great combo. Again, a BE/BTech in E&C can go very well with a BSc Hons in Physics.
So being versatile is no longer a choice. It becomes a necessity. If an employer and employee are to survive and thrive, the versatility of key workers is essential. It will result in a win-win for both.
Success in corporate jobs requires several skills that are not usually covered by a purely technological program. Thus, there is a strong rationale for adopting the dual degree program option.
With technology encompassing all fields, especially in healthcare, and set to play a more dominant role in the immediate future, a doctor, pharmacist or nurse cannot be limited to their primary professional field of study. Healthcare professionals need to immerse themselves in related fields, especially technical developments – which can bring faster relief to a suffering patient and also make life easier for specialists in treating a patient.
At Plus Two, a student is very strong in science and math. However, when a student joins medical programs etc., the focus completely shifts to subjects outside of the core areas of study in grades ten and twelve. It is a great loss for the individual and the community.
Breakthroughs can happen when a physician can participate in the design and development of new solutions for use in healthcare. The results would be highly accurate and fast. Elaborating more on Karnataka CET or NEET – students seeking admission into the MBBS program are tested for their skills in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. So, a high scorer eligible to study medicine will move away from math and physics as they enter higher grades in medical school.
Likewise in engineering: the divorce we see among science/mathematics students opting for engineering – exhibiting a lay knowledge of the anatomy and workings of the human system – as they progress to higher levels of study higher in BE/BTech.
The double degree is a godsend! It should work. The convergence of engineer, scientist and health professional working together would now be natural.
CDSIMER (the Dr. Chandramma Dayananda Sagar Institute for Medical Education and Research in Bengaluru) was founded on this very idea. UGC’s announcement is commendable and timely and clearly reflects the thinking of Dayananda Sagar University and the Faculty of Medicine/University Hospital. As a very practical first step, the engineering school would be housed on the same campus.
Great breakthroughs in healthcare could happen if students pursuing an MBBS also enroll in BE-Medical Electronics or Biomedical Engineering or even Mechanical or Chemical Engineering programs. There are synergies in these programs. A student could be awarded credits for the common subjects of these two programs; reduce costs and time. This could be an ideal situation and a good start for UGC to prove its intentions to the world while demonstrating excellent examples of the effectiveness of the dual degree in a real-life scenario.
Likewise, dentists cannot stay away from engineering. Mechanical engineering, in particular, could become their first choice. The tools, real equipment, drills, high-precision motors and bearings, and materials that a dentist uses in his clinic or operating theater can confuse a layman if he’s in a workshop or doctor’s office! Aerospace engineering could be of equal importance. One can find the surprising discoveries and the wealth of going into those streams that could benefit dental science now to find answers that have bothered dentists for decades.
Broadening the concept, Pharmacy B or Pharm D students could pursue a parallel BE in chemical or mechanical engineering. Or in a BSc – Bioscience. Or a pure BSc with physics, chemistry and mathematics or a BSc with chemistry as majors. It makes sense. After all, drug discovery is one of them. But manufacturing it and distributing it in domestic and global markets requires basic pharmaceutical knowledge strongly backed by the science of large-scale manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, and more.
It would be fitting to recall Dr. Abdul Kalam, renowned space scientist and former President of India, who repeatedly said that engineering and medicine should be taught and studied on the same campus! The time has come, now.
New initiatives bring with them new challenges that must be addressed. How will a student attend classes at two different campuses/colleges if both programs are delivered offline? After all, the timing of all university programs would generally be similar.
Can the first degree program be offline and the other online? Or can some courses from both degrees combine offline and online?
For institutions considering offering dual degrees, would it admit these students in ongoing batches; which may be required due to credits granted for common courses?
Or would a new batch be launched? What happens if the required numbers do not register? The economic/sustainability aspect of such initiatives would prove to be a deterrent. Would the UGC provide grants; If so, how? Financial support for the first five years to cover the deficit would be a good start.
The calendar of a second degree program:
- Should not conflict with the first degree curriculum
- Likewise, the second degree should not become a burden on a student or a college/institution
- The college/institution offering the second degree may have to schedule a second shift
- A second shift would require resources: teaching, physical infrastructure, etc.
Impact on consumption
Would UGC allow for automatic adjustments to faculty, student-teacher ratio, and infrastructure needs? If it is an affirmative answer, all actors in the system could gain.
To ensure the success of the dual degree concept, UGC could provide clarity on these and many other related issues that may arise when delivery is rapidly resumed across the country.
DSU could respond comprehensively to UGC’s decision because of its commitment to integrating the integration of education spanning different fields and the foundations that the university has already laid in this direction and which are now being taken to execution. UGC’s decision on the dual degree concept is commendable and very timely, at least for Dayananda Sagar University, Bengaluru.