UGC Issues Draft Guidelines to Convert HEIs into Multidisciplinary Institutes

How to Become a Multidisciplinary Institute?

University Grant Commission (UGC) recently issued draft guidelines outlining its plan to transform colleges and HEIs into multidisciplinary education institutions. With this change, educational institutions can offer an array of subjects across different departments to help students understand how various subjects correlate when applied in real life. It was on the recommendation of the National Education Policy, NEP 2020 that UGC drafted these new guidelines. The goal is to set up at least one large multidisciplinary HEI in or near every district by 2030.

Moreover, NEP 2020 also mentioned that by 2035 all affiliated colleges and institutes must become degree-awarding multidisciplinary learning institutions. This would be a great step for colleges to offer more diversified subjects and provide better online education opportunities. The government and authorities are working at pace to implement the more prevalent Online Distance Learning, ODL format of studies.


What Is a Multidisciplinary Institute?

In its draft guidelines, UGC said that all colleges will be converted into degree-rewarding multidisciplinary autonomous institutions. It means that colleges will have the stronger infrastructure and multiple subject combinations for different courses.

A Multidisciplinary approach in education is a unique concept that enables students to explore and learn two or more subjects or curricula from multiple disciplines. Their learning is not limited to a specific stream or field. It integrates distinct subjects to highlight diverse perspectives that different subjects offer to illustrate a theme or issue. Here, students use multiple disciplines to study the same topic.

In the hierarchical education structure, learning is often restricted due to time limitations, curriculum, teaching-learning methodologies, and several other reasons. This compromises the key vision of education. To keep pace with today’s highly competitive world, we need a unique system to promote a multidisciplinary model. One of the main benefits of a multidisciplinary approach in education is that it motivates and helps students to follow their passion without bounding their learning.


UGC Guidelines for Becoming a Multidisciplinary Institute

UGC’s draft guidelines say, “A multidisciplinary institution should not only have different departments but also imaginative and flexible curricular structures to enable creative combinations of disciplines for study. Innovative programmes of a multi- and interdisciplinary nature help widen learners’ thinking and learning capability and train them to address emerging challenges. An approach to help students to follow their passion is, therefore, a key recommendation towards innovative and flexible education.”

To establish colleges as multidisciplinary institutions, UGC has introduced three approaches-

Academic collaboration between institutions, Merger of single-stream institutions with other multidisciplinary institutions, and Strengthening of institutions by adding departments in subjects.

The guidelines also offer colleges an option of forming “clusters” to overcome institutional weaknesses that can restrict them to become a multidisciplinary education and research university. It enables colleges with fewer resources and poor enrollment to offer multidisciplinary programmes with quick access to better facilities for the benefit of all.

UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said, “Over the next few years, the UGC will be identifying the potential colleges and universities that can transform into robust multidisciplinary institutions. Those institutions in turn will set the template for others across the country to follow.”


Wrapping Up

Learning shouldn’t be restricted and a multidisciplinary approach to teaching is the right step in that direction. It will certainly provide students with more opportunities to learn and seek knowledge to achieve their goals.

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