[Answered] Is the Academic Bank of Credit initiative a panacea for the higher education system? Examine with justification.

Introduction: Explain the context of ABC.
Body: Write how ABC will benefit higher education system in India. Write challenge associated with ABC.
Conclusion: Give a way forward.

National Education Policy (NEP),2020 has recommended a revamp of the higher education scene in India to make education more student-centric and multi-disciplinary.

Academic Bank of Credits’ (ABC) in higher education is a new initiative to fulfill these objectives. It is an academic service mechanism that stores and transfers the academic credits earned by a student.

How the ABC would benefit the higher education system in India.

  • Freedom and flexibility in the university degree-granting system:
    • It provides students with multiple entry and exit points during their academic studies. It means students will be allowed to discontinue a course in between to pursue any other course. After the completion of later, student can resume their discontinued course.
    • It enables students to select the best courses or combinations that suit their aptitude and quest for knowledge.
  • Standardization within the Indian higher education system: The degree-granting mechanism varies from state to state and also from university to university. The ABC would reduce such disparity among institutions through standardization of crediting system and promote uniformity in the degree-granting mechanism.
  • Robust integration of the Indian higher education system: Many universities still have decades-old curriculum, obsolete readings and old evaluation and degree-granting mechanisms. Joining ABC will require institutions to restructure their curriculum and readings to bring in integration.
  • Internationalization of Indian higher education: It will bring India at par with similar global practices in EU, South Korea etc. It will integrate India into a global environment where nations are moving closer for knowledge sharing and innovation.

However, there are concerns related to ABC as well.

  • Hierarchy of Institutions: Only the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) graded institutions can join the Academic Bank of Credit. It may push the already remote institutions to become more marginalized.
  • Issues of structuring state education policies: Central and state education institutions will have to join together for the ABC to function effectively. There can be conflict of interests between different states governed by different political parties in restructuring their policies to enable ABC.
  • Institution specific concerns: Despite the flexibility, 50 per cent of credit is to be earned from the registering institutions. The restriction will be a hindrance as it is up to the institution to join the ABC or not. If premier institutions, like Delhi University or Jawaharlal Nehru University, do not participate due to their size and structure, the ABC may fail to achieve its objectives.
  • Operational issues: Providing additional seats to students under ABC in premier institutes which already have high demand would incur additional costs for institutions. Which may create extra pressure on already short-staffed institutions and may discourage them from joining.

The ABC can potentially be a game-changer in the Indian higher education system, which is lagging in terms of quality, accessibility, affordability, and equity compared to many developed and developing countries. However, the concerns associated need to be addressed to achieve the full potential of the initiative.

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