To begin with, the UGC needs to get the credits right 

NewsRecently, in pursuance of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2022, various documents related to a four-year undergraduate degree programme have been released for discussion.

These are the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), the Learning Outcomes-Based Curriculum Framework (LOCF), and the draft National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) document issued by University Grant Commission (UGC). 

How is the NEP 2020 going to reform education in India? 

It has proposed a number of changes in higher education. These changes will address the rigid and terribly outdated course structure in higher education programmes in India.

At present, students received education only on papers. However, the new changes will enable choice, flexible, and liberal ethos-based education system.

What is the concept of a credit system? 

It refers to the total expected engagement from the student. It includes time spent in lectures and tutorials. For example, a seven-credit course mean two hours of teaching per week and remaining hours credited for preparation and assessment. (For example, a seven-credit system is used under the Bologna Process in the UK). 

A credit also signifies the minimum skill attainment for graduating from one level to another in education. 

What will be the implications of the proposed credit system in India?  

It will impact the teaching quality and research productivity of the faculty members in the higher education institution in India. 

In India, the course credits are going to be directly proportional to the teaching hours. For example, one credit for one teaching hour. However, this is not found in the Anglo-American Universities like U.K. university. The faculty teaching hours per course are much lower than what is currently practised in Indian universities and outlined in several UGC documents.  

The proposed credit system in India is going to increase the faculty workload. For example, NEP mandates that it is the responsibility of a faculty to prepare the course content, assessments, and grading. In addition, they cannot teach more than 20 students at one time. So, in a way, a faculty would end up teaching for more hour in a week.  

The overburden the faculty will not be able to produce research productivity and better content and teaching delivery.  

Way Forward 

The standard workload for a faculty is typically decided via negotiations between faculty unions and the university administration. 

The faculty workload should vary between two courses per year in a research-intensive university to four or five courses per semester in a community college. It will increase the productivity of the faculty member of an institution. They will be able to create quality teaching content and engage in research. Indian regulators need to reduce credits per course in line with the practice in North American universities.  

We need to train students to take more responsibility for their learning. The government can promote technology-aided larger classrooms for introductory courses in universities. Further, the graduate students can act as teaching assistants to economise on faculty time and effort. 

We need to incentivise stakeholders in the higher education sector to collectively meet the desired outcome.  

Source: The post is based on an article “To begin with, the UGC needs to get the credits right” published in The Hindu on 9th Apr 22. 

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