Undergraduate and postgraduate students will soon be able to pursue two degrees simultaneously under the University Grants Commission’s new guidelines to be made public on Wednesday, said its chairman M Jagadesh Kumar.
The move will allow students to pursue two offline courses from the same university or two different universities or choose an offline course with either an online or an open and distance learning course.
“We can only admit 3% of students in physical campuses. There have been developments in open and distance learning and online education and many universities are providing these programmes. The Commission has decided to issue guidelines which will enable students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously,” Mr Kumar said at a virtual press conference.
He said that the guidelines will be issued on Wednesday and will come into force during the academic session 2022-2023.
A student can pursue two full-time academic programmes in the physical mode provided class timings of the two programmes don’t overlap.
Universities will have the flexibility to decide if they want to offer such a scheme. The guidelines will only be applicable to lecture-based courses, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma programmes. MPhil and PhD programmes will not fall under this scheme.
The eligibility criteria for different courses as well as admission policies will be determined by each university.
Once the guidelines are made public, the UGC will inform educational institutes of the decision, which will have to then approach their statutory bodies that will bring out the academic ordinance to implement the guideline.
The move is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. “Under the NEP we are trying to provide as much flexibility as possible so that we can ensure wholistic, integrated and learner-centered education. We hope that with the new guidelines the students will be provided with enough opportunities to acquire multi-disciplinary learning across wide variety of disciplines,” said Mr Kumar.
The NEP talks about encouraging engineering students to also learn arts and humanities subjects and students of arts to learn science and emphasises on “imaginative and flexible curricular structures” to allow creative combinations of different disciplines and “engaging course options in addition to rigorous specialisation in a subject.”