Joint degree programmes may soon be a reality, with an expert committee of the University Grants Commission (UGC) recommending moves for exposing students to better academic environments of two separate universities.
Such programmes were earlier confined to foreign universities, and several Indian universities have tied up with foreign institutions to offer joint degree programmes. However, the latest recommendation of the committee, which submitted its report to the UGC last month, will open the door to Indian institutions for tie-ups.
The committee felt that there was nothing wrong if two good universities in the country offered joint programmes. However, the report said that the views of Vice-Chancellors should be elicited before implementing the system as universities needed to enter into MoUs to offer such programmes. If the VCs agree that students can complete part of the programme at one university and move to the partner university for further studies.
“It will be a good move, but it needs to be implemented with some caution to avoid misuse,” says P. Jayaprakash Rao, Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Council for Higher Education (APSCHE). “It will help in exposing students to different academic environments, enabling them to make use of the specialisations available in those particular universities,” he said, adding that if regular student can be allowed to pursue a maximum of one certificate or diploma or advanced diploma or PG diploma simultaneously either in regular or open and distance mode at the same university . Such an effort is likely to help research students as expertise in several areas was distributed across the country at different universities.
The Committee, chaired by Furcon Qamar, Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh and consisting of Manoj Kumar Mishra, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lucknow; Prof. Sudhanshu Bhushan and Prof. lqbal Ahmad, also recommended that students be allowed to pursue two degree programmes at a time.
The Committee also said that a student enrolled in a degree programme under the regular mode may be allowed to pursue a maximum of one additional degree programme simultaneously under open or distance mode from the same or a different university. However, two degree programmes under the regular mode should not be allowed simultaneously as it may create logistic, administrative and academic issues.
Similarly, a regular student can be allowed to pursue a maximum of one certificate or diploma or advanced diploma or PG diploma simultaneously either in regular or open and distance mode at the same university or at other institutions.