Students can pursue two full-time degrees at once. Here’s how
The University Grants Commission has paved the way for students to pursue two full-time academic programmes in physical mode. They can also enrol in two different universities
The University Grants Commission (UGC) continues to introduce reforms in higher education in India. The latest in the changes sweeping the system is a go-ahead for students to pursue two full-time degrees simultaneously.
What does this change mean for students?
Earlier, students could not pursue two full-time programmes, as per UGC guidelines. They could combine a full-time degree with online, short-term, or diploma courses. This is about to change after Tuesday’s announcement.
Now both degrees can be in physical mode, or one can be offline while the other online. The option of two offline degrees is also available to students. These guidelines will apply to universities across India.
“As announced in the NEP [National Education Policy] 2020 and in order to allow students to acquire multiple skills, UGC is coming up with new guidelines to allow a candidate to pursue two degrees simultaneously. The degrees can either be pursued from the same or different universities,” said M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson of the UGC.
What are the courses students can pick?
Under the “two-degree” programme, students can mix streams and courses.
Students can choose a combination of a diploma programme and an undergraduate (UG) degree, two master’s programmes, or two bachelor’s programmes. If a student is eligible to pursue a postgraduate (UG) degree and also wants to enrol in a bachelor’s degree in a different domain, they will be able to pursue a UG and PG degree simultaneously. The class timing for both the programmes must not clash, according to a report in The Indian Express.
Students who are in the third or second year can enrol in the first year for another course as well. “Hope with the NEP more and more universities open up and allow students flexibility,” Kumar said while addressing the media on Tuesday.
What about eligibility?
The two-degree programme is not only applicable to freshers joining the first year but also to those who have already enrolled in a degree.
While the programme offers students plenty of options to choose from, they can pursue it only if they are eligible for admission to the universities or courses. For example, if the admission to one course is based on JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) score and the other on the CUET (Common University Entrance Test) score, the student will have to have cleared both.
How mandatory is attendance?
All academic programmes have minimum attendance requirements for students to be able to take the exams. For the new programme, universities may have to devise or revise the attendance criteria, reports The Indian Express.
“UGC does not mandate any attendance requirements and these are the policies of the universities,” Kumar said.
Final call with universities
Adopting the new guidelines is optional for universities. They can be implemented only after the approval of the universities’ statutory bodies.
“Universities will have the flexibility to decide if they want to offer such a scheme of programmes or not. The guidelines will only be applicable to lecture-based courses, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma programmes. MPhil and PhD programmes will not fall under the same scheme,” Kumar added.
What difficulties are students likely to face?
Kumar was asked if the proposed structure was practical. “It of course depends on the capability of the student,” said the UGC chairman.
He said that pursuing two offline degrees might not be easy. However, it wasn’t impossible. “For example, if a student pursuing B Tech in IIT Delhi wants to study BA French in JNU in the evening, she can very well do that by just walking across the road,” he said, according to a report in The Indian Express.
With inputs from agencies
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