Credit distribution Certificate course: 20 credits; Diploma course: 40 credits, inclusive of credits earned during certificate course; Advanced Diploma Course: 60 credits, inclusive of credits earned during certificate course and diploma course

Under the scheme of `Career-Oriented Programmes at First Degree level', universities/colleges can formulate their own `need-based' career-oriented certificate/diploma/advanced diploma courses and frame the syllabi involving subject experts, as per the modified guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC). They have been asked to submit fresh proposals under the scheme for the courses to be started from the academic year, 2007-2008.The UGC will provide assistance in the form of a one-time `seed money' for purchase of books and journals, augmentation of laboratory facilities, equipment, contingency and payment of remuneration to the guest/internal faculty. Assistance to the tune of Rs. 5 lakhs will be provided per course in the Humanities and Commerce streams and Rs. 7 lakhs per course in Science stream. The university/colleges can opt for a maximum of three courses and multiple certificate/diploma/advanced diploma courses.Though the benefits of career-oriented courses can be extended to regular postgraduate students of the same college/university, undergraduate students remain the priority. In keeping with the heavy demand for certificate courses, the UGC has, irrespective of their year of study, permitted students to either opt for certificate/diploma/advanced diploma courses or three certificate courses during the period of study. The UGC has advised universities to consider issuing Honours degree to those students who have successfully completed concurrently three certificates or certificate, diploma and advanced diploma in a stream along with the degree course, since it involves 900 hours of learning comprising 60 credits (each credit will have 15 hours of workload out of which eight credits should necessarily be assigned to field work/project work/training). Since 2003, the UGC has conducted several inter-face meetings with principals of colleges and organised four seminars on `Vocationalisation of Higher Education' to popularise the scheme. The change in the guidelines comes in the wake of a request made to that effect by the college principals. The guidelines were modified on the recommendations of an expert committee headed by B.H. Brij Kishore, UGC Member, after eliciting views of academicians all over the country, to introduce career-oriented and skill enhancing add-on courses that have utility for job, self-employment and empowerment of students. R. KRISHNAMOORTHY