Vocation degree (B. Voc) now at par with other Bachelor degree: UGC

UGC2In a step to further strengthen its commitment towards facilitating mobility between vocational and general education and developing a consistent and standardised framework for recognition of vocational degrees, the UGC recently released a notification allowing recognition of the B. Voc degree for competitive exams such as UPSC and Staff Selection Commission as well as for admission into trans-disciplinary programmes. The move intends to bring the B. Voc degree at par with other Bachelor level degrees.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched a scheme on skill development based higher education as part of college/university education, leading to Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc.) Degree with multiple exit options such as Diploma/Advanced Diploma under the NSQF.  To this end, the B.Voc degree was specified by UGC under section 22(3) of UGC Act, 1956 and notified in official Gazette of India dated 19th January, 2013.

The notification mentions that B. Voc should be recognised “for competitive exams conducted by Union/State Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission or other such bodies where the eligibility criteria is “Bachelor Degree in any discipline.” It further states that “students with B.Voc. degree should be considered eligible for the transdisciplinary vertical mobility into such courses where entry qualification is a Bachelor Degree without specific requirement in a particular discipline.”

Edulegal View

edulegal imageThis is a welcome move by the UGC that will further open up various avenues and pathways to increase employability of candidates outside of conventional education, which, in turn, will contribute toward productivity at a national level to boost India’s competitive edge at a time when there is still a shortage of skilled manpower to address the increasing needs and demands of the economy.

UGC notifies restructuring of courses in Physical and Sports Education

UGC2UGC while considering specification of new degrees in Physical and Sports Education in exercise of its powers u/s 22 of the UGC Act, 1956 has recently notified introduction of Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports (BPES) and Maters of Physical Education and Sports [MPES] in the list of specification of degrees, by way of amendment in the specification of degrees published on 5th July 2014.

In the year, 1966, vide Notification dated 27.04.1966, UGC had introduced BPE [Bachelor of Physical Education] and MPE [Masters of Physical Education] in list of specification of degrees. In the year 2004, UGC recommended phasing out these degrees from the academics.

In the specification of degrees published in July 2014, UGC had restructured BPE [Bachelor of Physical Education] and MPE [Masters of Physical Education] and prescribed new degrees, viz., BPEd and MPEd, which was result of phasing out the BPE and MPE Degrees, started in year 2004.

Earlier, the BPE course run by several Universities in the Country was a 3 years degree course, allowing 12th Pass Students to pursue this Course. However, by amendment in July 2014, the Bachelor in Physical Education [BPEd] was prescribed as 2 year Course with Bachelor Degree as qualifying degree. This eliminated a big community of students aspiring to have career in Physical Education after passing Class 12th, as they would have to wait till their graduation.

UGC realised its mistake and has now restructured the courses in Physical and Sports Education and introduced Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports (BPES) and Maters of Physical Education and Sports [MPESportseducationS] in the list of specification of degrees. Pertinently, it has restored the qualifying examination to be 10+2 for the Bachelors Course and retained Bachelor Degree as qualifying examination for Master’s Course.

In addition, to BPES, the UGC has also approved MPES [Masters of Physical Education and Sports] Program. Considering that is a Master’s Degree, it will be of two years duration and will run concurrently with MPEd Degree Course.

Accordingly, it has requested the Institutions offering BPE/MPE or BPEd/MPEd to restructure their courses.

EduLegal View:

We all welcome this step of restoration of 3 year degree course, because it is majorly after 12th only that career decisions are made. In such sense, this is really a welcome step by UGC.  But UGC should be mindful of the fact that introduction of a new degree course should generally be done at the beginning of the academic year, so that Universities/ Institutions can start admission to these courses. A delayed introduction denies concerned Institutions to introduce the course in the same year because of curriculum constraints.

Der Aye Lekin Durust Aye !

Read the Notification

[embeddoc url=”http://edulegal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Second-Amendment-to-UGC-Notification-2014-on-Specification-of-Degrees.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

 

AICTE bids farewell to Dual Degree Integrated Management Courses

aicte_2In the academic year, 2012-13, AICTE with a laudable noble objective to provide students with an opportunity to gain managerial skills and encourage them start and run own ventures with good business knowledge had permitted students to start a 5 year Integrated Dual Degree Management Course, leading to an undergraduate degree in 3 or 4 years, (BM – Bachelor’s degree in Management / BAM -Bachelor’s degree in Applied Management) followed by a Master’s degree in five years (MAM – Master’s degree in Applied Management).

In the year, 2014, UGC released revised specification of degrees, u/s 22 of the UGC Act, 1956 and also the guidelines for Dual Degree Programmes. In respect of the Management Courses, though it did not directly refer to BM/BAM/MAM Courses, but it did refer to other Management Courses and directed that the same be restricted as BBA / MBA, with appropriate parenthesis.

AICTE, after a gap of 2 years, constituted a Committee constituted a Committee to examine the continuation of Five Years Dual Degree Programme (s) in Management (lntegrated) introduced in the AY 2012- 13 by AICTE with the nomenclature as BM/BAM/MAM, since the same were not in line with UGC approved programme (s).

It seems the report has come and now AICTE has directed the Institutes conducting the Dual Degree Course that no fresh admission should be conducted from Academic Year 2016-2017 onwards and the Dual Degree course has to be closed completely. However, the Institutions who were running dual degree course (s) have been permitted to conduct five [05] years Integrated MBA courses in lieu of five (05) years dual degree courses of MBA/MAM introduced by AICTE. As the Institute would now be conducting BBA and MBA Courses, they have been introduce additional supplementary subjects in the curricula of BM/BAM /MAM to come up with same standards of BBA and MBA course (s).

As regards, safeguarding the interest of the existing students, already admitted in the BM/BAM/MAM programme (s) during 2012-13 to 2015-16, AICTE has asked the Institute to provide exit option at the end of the three (03) years for the students, who have joined the dual degree courses in 2015-16 and prior to that, by awarding a BBA degree instead of BM degree. But in respect of those students, who have completed 4 years, has to undergo one more year and will be awarded MBA degree after completion of five (05) years, as there is no exit option at the end of fourth year.

The students graduating this year under MAM and completing 5 years of their study may be awarded MBA Degree.

EduLegaL View

When will two regulators having concurrent jurisdictions, start working hand-in-hand in this Country to save the students from hassles and harassment. UGC announced policy in 2014, AICTE implements in 2016. What a criminal wastage of time ?

When will the regulators in our country learn to make policy announcements concerning admission of students prior to commencement of academic year, so that a student can plan his pursuit, an Institute can plan its calendar?

We can keep asking …. ?

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

UGC directs Universities to award degree within reasonable time

educational-degree

UGC has taken note of inordinate delays in awarding of degrees to the students and has directed all the Universities within 180 days of the date/s by which the student qualifies and becomes eligible for award of degree.

UGC expects that rights and entitlements of students are well regarded by the Institutions and has asked the Universities to understand that one of such fundamental entitlement and inviolable privilege of a student is award of degree in time after having successfully completing a program and simultaneously it is also one the most fundamental and primary duties of a University.

In a communication issued to the Universities, UGC upon receiving representations and references regarding some universities, which are not awarding degrees in time to the students enrolled in different programs of study offered by them, has brought to the Notice of the Universities provision contained in Regulation 4.4 of UGC (Grant of Degrees and other award by Universities) Regulations, 2008, which reads as under:

“The Degree award date/s shall be within 180 days of the date/s by which the student are expected to qualify and become eligible for them”

UGC has cautioned the Universities that withholding degree of a student who has successfully completed his tenure in the institution of his enrolment, for whatever reasons, amounts to constraining opportunities of a student and if an University is found to be indulging in the same, then it will be constrained to take punitive actions as are notified in Regulation 9 of UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012 against the University.

EduLegaL View:

Today, we talk of Right to Services of a common citizen, Citizen Charter for disposing the grievances of a common citizen, but Education Sector is still out of scope of all these. There was a discussion about creating a repository of academic award of student after giving him a Unique ID. I do not know what happened to the same.

Submission of degree certificate, as we all know is also connected with eligibility of a student to further education and any delay in submitting the degree certificate has the potential to jeopardise his career. 180 days in any case in more than enough for completing all the formalities for awarding of degrees. Occasion for such caution should not arise at all.

It is necessary that a Uniform Student Charter is also framed defining the time within a document is handed over to a student.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Read the UGC Notice to the Universities:

[embeddoc url=”http://edulegal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/UGC-direction-to-Universities-to-award-degree-within-180-days.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

 

UGC snubs MHRD by re-imposing ban on technical distance education degrees

UGC2

UGC has undone a great policy initiative taken by MHRD to recognize technical education obtained distance education by re-imposing the ban on such degrees and has cautioned by way of Public Notice that no institution is permitted to offer Diploma, Bachelor or Masters level programme under ODL mode in Engineering and Technology.

In a big departure from its earlier stand, the Centre has notified in July 25, 2015 Notification that degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by universities through open and distance-learning mode of education for programmes including technical education would now be considered valid for Government Employment.

MHRD

The path breaking approach of MHRD was consistent with recommendation of Madhav Menon Committee, which had advocated that recognition of technical education qualification from distance education mode is consistent with National Policy of Education and should be allowed by using Study Learning Material for theory component, face-to-face / e-learning for interaction and compulsory practical component for development of requisite skill. Regular face-to-face counselling sessions during weekends should be used for clarification and removal of doubts. Laboratory experiments could be conducted in AICTE recognized colleges taking into account the physical infrastructure and human resource required for the purpose.

DEB

Now the present notice issued by UGC, which has come as a big shock, ignores not only the recommendation of the Madhav Menon Committee but also the Notification issued by MHRD and is actually repetitive of the earlier approach of UGC and AICTE, which has always followed a policy of not approving B.Tech, M.Tech, courses in distance mode, but have only recognising MBA / MCA Qualifications from Distance Education Mode.

UGC has turned the tide termed offering such courses by Institutions to be “misleading” and in “gross violation” of the policy regarding offering programmes in Open and Distance Learning Mode. It also clarified that it has not recognized any Institution to offer distance Programme in technical education and such qualification, acquired by a student shall not be eligible for employment in Government Services or for pursuing higher studies.

The proposed Distance Education Council Bill, 2014 also makes provisions for technical education within the scope of Distance Education and the proposed Council has representations from AICTE and other technical / professional regulators.

EduLegaL View

Higher Education in our country has experienced substantial growth however has failed to scale upto the required strengths more so because it is highly dependent on conventional education, which is highly capital-intensive.

The need of the hour is to develop an alternative mode of education to supplement the conventional education system, through policy initiatives to facilitate the expansion of higher education sector for the fulfillment of aspirations of those who are deprived of pursuing it for whatever reason and recognising the qualifications earned through distance education for employability is certainly one of such policy initiatives.

UGC’s Notice is a step backwards and works against the aspirations.

But the larger picture is, WHAT IS A CONFUSION BETWEEN TWO APEX AGENCIES, MHRD and UGC ?

Statutory Councils not in support of pursuing two degrees simultaneously

UGC2

University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a Notice dated 15th January 2016 stating that its consultations related to allowing students to pursue two degrees simultaneously has not received a positive response and hence the possibility of allowing a student to pursue two degrees has hit a road block.

Earlier, in year 2012, a Committee headed by Mr. Fuqran Kamar, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, Mr. Manoj Kumar Mishra, Vice Chancellor, University of Lucknow and Prof. Sudhanshu Bhushan, NUEPA, New Delhi had recommended that students enrolled in a regular degree course should be allowed to pursue an additional degree simultaneously under open or distance education mode from the same or different university. However, students should not be allowed to undertake two regular degrees at the same time, the committee had held.

The Committee had also recommended that students enrolled in a regular degree course should be allowed to pursue an additional one Certificate/Diploma/ Post Graduate Diploma in regular or distance mode, from the same or different university.

The Committee was not in favour of allowing two degree programmes under regular mode simultaneously as it may create logistic, administrative and academic problems.

The University Grants Commission finally at a meeting on July 31, 2013 decided to accept its Committee’s recommendations on permitting pursuit of an additional degree programme, in the manner as aforesaid.

However, recently, UGC has notified that it had sought the comments of statutory councils on the issue of allowing pursuing two degrees simultaneously, but the responses of the Statutory Council was not encouraging. UGC has therefore directed the Institutions that they shall conduct their programmes in accordance with the First Degree and Master Degree Regulations, 2003 prescribed by the UGC and also follow the norms and parameters prescribed by the Statutory Council concerned, wherever relevant.

EduLegaL View:

The recent notice, without any clarity on the earlier Resolution has added to confusion for academic governance.

Pursuing two courses simultaneously allows a student to do value addition to him and enhance his knowledge and skill. It also adds to the prospect to his employability.

Not allowing pursuing two degree programmes in name of “logistic, administrative and academic problems” is a weak response to the growing demands of the students and such issues can easily be addressed.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Foreign Degrees of Short Duration due to credit transfer, credit exemptions will now be recognized in India: AIU

Since degrees awarded by an Indian University are generally recognized by all universities in the country, there is no major problem on this account. But issue arises when a student has achieved a degree from Foreign University and seeks recognition of that degree in India.

Initially, the equivalence was accorded by the AIU on course-to-course basis only after the proposal for equivalence of foreign qualification was received from an Indian Mission aboard or from the university concerned.

As the mobility of students increased across a wide range of universities in many different countries and the number of cases seeking AIU equivalence multiplied, the then practice of case by case evaluation of each request was found time consuming and unsustainable. The policy was therefore changed to recognize the system of education on the basis of such parameters as (a) Eligibility requirements for admission; (b) Duration of the programme; and (c) Accreditation status of the University concerned.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by students on account of the fact that many a foreign universities allow students to complete their programme of studies in less than the prescribed duration either due to exemption from certain number of credits, or due to acceptance of certain credits already taken or because a student is permitted to take certain credits during vacation etc, the AIU has in depth considered the issue of degrees awarded in lesser duration in terms of years of studies than applicable in case of Indian universities and has resolved to accord equivalence the foreign degrees in cases where the prescribed programme duration is at least the same as prescribed in India but a student was awarded degree within a shorter duration due to credit transfer, exemption and summer/winter courses, AIU has decided to grant certain relaxation in according equivalence in the following situations:

(a) Degrees awarded in lesser duration in terms of years of studies than applicable in case of Indian universities even though the student may have completed all the credits specified by the university and/or the semesters as applicable in case of Indian universities: Keeping the requirements of minimum duration of degrees in consideration, the duration should, instead of being measured in terms of precise number of months/years, be measured in terms of completion of the number of Semesters/Trimesters and all such cases where the degrees have been awarded upon completion of as many semester/trimester as are prescribed in case of Indian universities be awarded equivalence;

(b) Degrees awarded where the University has accepted credits taken by students from other universities/degree-awarding institutions including those in India: As acceptance of credits and credit transfer is a normal practice in most foreign universities and that the same is also being encouraged in India, the AIU may accord equivalence to such foreign degrees where the duration have been shortened on account of credits accepted by the foreign universities so long as the degrees awarded by foreign universities meets all other parameters specified by the AIU;

(c) Degrees awarded where the University has granted exemption to the student from certain number of credits or certain number of semesters: Given the fact that foreign universities grant exemptions to their students on the basis of their academic records/ attainment/transfers from other higher educational institutions, the AIU has decided to grant equivalence to such foreign degrees where the duration have been shortened on account of exemption granted by the foreign universities so long as the degree meets all other parameters specified by the AIU.

Students having obtained their Qualifications/Degrees from Foreign Universities may apply for the Equivalence Certificate from AIU in the prescribed Form. Equivalence is however subject to other conditions as laid down by AIU

EduLegaL View:

Credit Transfer Recognition has been a big issue in India and the new Regulations are really a ray of new hope for Indian Students. This will allow the students to come to back to India. In absence of the recognition, they were forced in remain in foreign country and seek employment. “Brain Gain” and not “Brain Drain” is underlying manifestation of the new Regulations. These relaxations would enable thousands of students to return to India to pursue further studies here or get employment.

Earlier, AIU Equivalence required foreign courses to be done in full-time regular mode with durations same as specified by UGC, which meant traditional 3 years for Under-Graduate and 2 Years Post Graduate Courses.

However, some foreign universities conduct master’s programmes of 20 to 22 months, allowing the students to study during summer or winter vacations or take extra courses in a semester. Such courses were not recognised in India earlier. Now AIU has considered a departure and it will now be recognized in India.

About AIU:

AIU is the only body in India, which is recognized to grant Equivalence of Degrees awarded by the Foreign Universities. Acknowledging its role and work the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI) vide their letter No. F.15-17/94-TS IV dated 13th March 1995 issued a Notification that“those foreign qualifications which are recognized/equated by the AIU, are treated as recognized for the purpose of employment to post and services under the Central Government”.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

UGC fixes two-year time to clear backlog papers

Educational Institutions / Universities have been allowing courses to be completed in varying time spans. UGC with a view to maintain uniformity in the grace [span] period for completion of a degree programme has issued guidelines maximum grace period of two years beyond the scheduled date of completion. The guidelines were formulated after UGC constituted an expert committee to determine a uniform time period for completion of degree-level programmes.

The Guidelines provides that a student pursuing an undergraduate programme which normally runs for three or four years (for engineering courses), which may be further more for integrated course like 5 Year Law Course, would be given two more years to clear his back papers, leading to awarding of degree. Similarly, students at the post-graduate level would be given as many years to clear their backlog, if any, leading to award of degree.

However, the Guidelines, accommodates exceptional situation and allows the Educational Institutions to permit extension of one more year to the student to complete the backlog papers. This extension comes with the limitation that during this extended period, the student shall, however, be considered a private candidate and not be eligible for ranking.

These guidelines are subject to rules and regulations of statutory bodies and universities governing grant of degrees.

EduLegaL View:

The statue of UGC in its preamble itself prescribes “co-ordination and determination of standards” as one its main objectives, which finds its origin in Entry 66 of List 1 of the Constitution of India. This is a certainly step towards to maintain uniformity in standards.

However, the fact that it is “subject to rules and regulations of statutory bodies and universities governing grant of degrees” is my worry. Being subject would mean “it would be merely recommendation in nature and will not be mandatory”.

Also, whether these Guidelines covers, Distance Education or not, or needs to be seen?

This was also required from academic point of view as with introduction of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), institutes need to regularly update their curriculum and a longer grace period would deprive deprive students of knowledge and skill as on the date of completing the degree course.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Now a Master’s Degree in Vocational Education

In a major boost to Vocational Education, UGC following the introduction of Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education [B.Voc], has now specified Master’s Degree in Vocational Education.

Earlier, in the year 2012, under the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework / National Skill Qualification Framework, UGC had specified Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education paving way to pursue degree course in different trades. UGC also from time to invites proposal for conducting various courses under B.Voc. Programmes in different skill based trades.

UGC recently in exercise of its powers under section 22 [3] of the UGC Act, 1956 has specified a new Degree, Master in Vocational Education [M.Voc.]. The Gazette Notification dated 23rd July 2015, which amends the earlier Gazette published on 5th July 2014 regarding specification of degree introduces a 2 year Master’s Course in Vocational Education. UGC has also specified that entry eligibility for this Master’s Course shall be Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education.

Indian Government has taken several intitiatives in recent times to boost the skill sector by introducing National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme and the Skill Loan scheme.

EduLegaL View:

The introduction of Master’s Degree in Vocational Education will strengthen the vocational education sector and will allow the students having achieved bachelor’s degree in vocational sector to have further specialization in their chosen trade. This is a kind of a specialization hierarchy, which is very common in our education system, like MD after MBBS, MBA after BBA. This step also recognizes the need and importance of Vocational Education in transforming an economy.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in