Students differ over the benefits of UGC plan to introduce joint/dual degree programmes in universities

How often has one thought that the course he/she is pursuing in college is “not the right combination”? Many of us have also pondered about what it would be like to pursue that other degree instead. It would be the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently mulled over introducing joint/dual degree programmes in universities, enabling students to learn more in a lesser period of time. Such a programme will facilitate taking up degrees from the same or different universities at the same time.

However, it remains to be seen if such a move will help the students or burden them. Juggling between two courses in two different colleges with different rules could be cumbersome, even though one of the degrees will be via distance education/correspondence.

Monica Umesh, B.A.-LL.B., Christ University

A joint degree is a welcome change as long as the course syllabus allows the study of both the degrees to a large extent in a shorter period of time. For example, mine is a joint degree. I get a B.A. degree as well as LL.B. If done separately, it takes six years but this saves me one year. However, all courses cannot be made into distance education degrees, such as engineering; law too needs actual practice. Making them possible could bring down the quality of education.

If a joint degree is made out of these courses, it has to be on a regular, practical basis. Most courses that can be taught via distance education and certificate courses are available now in various universities.

Nikhil K.T., seventh semester, PESIT

If the purpose is to have a good CV, then this might help. Such a solution makes sense for courses such as B.A.-LL.B. which reduces the time span. However, subjects like engineering cannot be taken up in correspondence, and other degrees can be learnt better by attending actual classes. The absence of practical education in distance learning is a huge setback. Even though crash courses can be arranged, only a few can actually benefit from them. For taking two degrees from two different colleges, the two institutes need to coordinate well; otherwise it is a burden on the student. In case of taking up masters along with a degree, without any flexibility to alter courses, it is just constraining the student and restricting the options.

Smitha Karanth, MBA-Human Resources, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies

Even though taking up two courses at the same time might be a huge burden for the students, it is their personal choice. For those interested, two subjects which do not appear in the same degree can be taken up by using dual degree programmes. Also it enhances our knowledge and experience and builds our credibility during placements. Not only that, it can also help us improve our classroom participation by assisting us to learn more in the same period of time as we now take for attaining one degree.

Aditi Mukherjee, M.S. Mass Communication, Manipal University, Bangalore Campus

Since competition is high in the job sector, such a programme will always prove beneficial but only if the student is able to take up the burden of two different study modules together. The provision of applying for different courses from different colleges also helps one to opt for the college of choice.

Another plus point of the dual/joint degree course is the fact that the second course will have an option of being pursued as a subject under distance learning. This reduces the pressure and hassle of attending classes for both the degree courses at the same time.

Sreeharsha Kornu, B.Sc (Correspondence), Sikkim Manipal University

I feel the proposal will be of great help to people like me. I say that keeping in mind that I had to drop out of college because of health issues, because of which two years of education was wasted. I could not even transfer to another college to complete my remaining year of study as my college was an autonomous university and had its own syllabus.

Ideally, transfer of credits to a different college, and if necessary to a different university, would have helped me complete my course. Even the option of taking an alternative course I was interested in was not open.

As a result I have started with a new degree course all over again. A move like this should have been taken long back.

Shreyas Rao, B.A. Journalism, Manipal University, Bangalore Campus

I don’t really think it will help. I personally have always felt that distant education is just about helpful if you have a regular degree to support.

It also depends on the kind of education they provide. Since there are no regular classes, assignments or practical sessions in such distant education programmes, they cannot teach much when compared to regular classes.

And in case of higher education, I would like to keep my options open till the last minute.