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Students in India wishing to acquire multiple degrees simultaneously to further their professional goals now have a reason to rejoice. Starting from the academic year 2022-23, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has allowed the students to pursue two degrees concurrently. The announcement was made by UGC chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar in a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
The facility will allow students to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate, or diploma courses while already enrolled in another programme. Both the degrees could be completed in physical classroom mode, online mode or a combination of physical and online mode.
“A student will be able to pursue a B.Com. and a mathematics degree together if the student wishes to, and if he/she is eligible to do so. The idea is to provide as much flexibility to students as possible.” - M. Jagadesh Kumar, UGC chairman.
Mr. Kumar said that the move is in accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP) which aims to offer flexibility and personalisation of higher education to students desirous of acquiring multiple skills. He also mentioned that the decision to implement or not implement the latest UGC decision is up to the individual universities.
Key points to note
- Students will be able to pursue two UG or PG degrees/diplomas together in the physical+physical mode or physical+online mode or online+online mode.
- The student can join online academic programmes after completing Class 12.
- Students pursuing two full-time academic programmes in the physical mode should ensure that the class timings do not overlap. Eg. A student can pursue B.A. classes in the morning and B. Com classes in the evening. The student will also have to comply with the attendance as required for each by the respective universities.
- The two programmes may be pursued from the same university or from different universities
- Students can pick multidisciplinary programmes. Eg. B.A. History with BSc Mathematics, B.Com Honours with a diploma in Data Science.
- The two degrees can only be non-technical programmes approved by UGC. They can be a combination of subjects from different streams – science, commerce and Combining technical and non-technical programmes is not permissible for now.
- The two programmes can start in different years. Eg. A student can start off with a B.A. History degree in 2022 and start a Data Science diploma in 2023 while being a second-year History student.
The detailed guidelines will be available on the UGC website from Wednesday and the universities will be free to adopt it in the manner that suits them. As per Jagadesh Kumar, it is not mandatory for any university or a council to adopt these guidelines, but he hopes that more institutions will allow students to pursue two degrees together.
Academics’ and parents’ views on the UGC move
Many academicians went up in arms as soon as the announcement was made as they believe it will lead to a compromise in the quality of education. Some believe that such a move would also dilute the basic structure of honours courses which are meant to impart intensive and advanced knowledge to students.
While some parents are optimistic about having their wards acquiring dual qualifications to further their job prospects, others are wary that such a move may take away from the time spent on extra-curricular activities that leads to a student’s all-round development.
The UGC chairman is clear that pursuing two degrees/diplomas isn’t easy and that it really depends on the capability of the student. Only time will tell whether it was a misfire or indeed a game-changing move that changed the student’s lives for the better.
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