The introduction of the Academic Bank of Credits in higher education institutions has enabled HEIs to store students’ academic credits efficiently. It allows students to take a break from undergraduate or postgraduate courses and come back whenever they want. The new system has been welcomed by students but has left colleges with many questions. The most important question is – how will multiple exits and entries work?
The undergraduate degree should be of either a 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple entries and exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications. For example,
- A certificate after completing one year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas;
- A diploma after two years of study;
- A Bachelor’s degree after a three-year programme;
- The four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, is the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on major and minor subjects as per the student’s preference. The four-year programme may also lead to a degree in Research if the student completes a rigorous research project in the major area(s) of study as specified by the HEI.
The Academic Bank of Credits or ABC gives students multiple entry and exit options for life-long learning. It gives them the freedom to choose their subjects and design their curriculum by choosing from a bouquet of courses. Thus, making education more convenient for students and allowing them to select the most suitable pace of learning.
To understand the working of ABC and the multiple entry/exit system, here’s a look at the objectives of the new system –
- Removing rigid boundaries in the education system to facilitate new possibilities for learners. The validity of credits earned by students will be for 7 years. And students will be eligible to redeem credits to re-join a programme after a gap.
- The equity and flexibility offered by the new system can help reduce the drop-out rates in higher education and improve the overall GER.
- New combinations of subjects to enable multiple entry and exit points. Students can now design their graduation courses by choosing various disciplines of study.
- Flexibility in curriculum and novel course options to students, apart from discipline-specific specializations. This would help students gather peripheral knowledge beyond their field of study.
- To offer different designs of the master’s programs. It will allow students to include creative combinations of subjects in their master’s program aside from the domain they choose to pursue.
- Credit accumulation and transfer will enable lifelong learning. Students can accumulate and transfer credit with the provision of evaluation and validation of non-formal and informal education to award a degree.
- The system allows students to encash credits earned when a learner resumes their program of study.
In conclusion, the NEP 2020 has brought a significant change in how degree courses are run in India. Higher education institutions will now offer students better equity, quality, flexibility, collaboration, and transparency. It is bound to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of India’s higher education system.