Students in India will now be able to pursue two full-time academic programmes in physical mode, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced on Tuesday. A set of guidelines regarding the same was put together by the commission which will be put up on the official website of the UGC by today.
UGC regulations did not allow students to take up two simultaneous full-time programmes earlier and they could only pursue one full-time degree along with online or short-term or diploma courses.
This will be applicable to all programmes across the country. Students will be able to choose from a combination of a diploma programme and an undergraduate (UG) degree, two master’s programmes, or two bachelor’s programmes.
A student eligible to pursue a postgraduate (PG) degree and also wants to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in a different domain, he or she will be able to pursue a UG and PG degree simultaneously. However, the timings of classes for both the programmes must not clash, the commission stated.
The Chariman of UGC, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar said, “In the last commission meeting held on March 31, it was decided to issue guidelines which will enable students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously because the NEP 2020 emphasises the need to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education forms, in the sense that a combination of the physical model, as well as the online form, should be used to provide more freedom to the students to acquire multiple skills.”
Students will also be able to take up two degree programmes across domains such as sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, etc. Meanwhile, the guidelines will be optional for universities across the country to adopt and can be implemented only after the approval of the universities’ statutory bodies.
The eligibility criteria for the programmes will remain unchanged and admissions will be conducted based on the existing UGC and university norms.
Kumar said, “A student can pursue two full-time academic programmes in the physical mode provided that in such cases, class timings for one programme do not overlap with the class timings of the other programme. Universities will have the flexibility to decide if they want to offer such a scheme of programmes or not. The guidelines will only be applicable to lecture-based courses, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma programmes. MPhil and PhD programmes will not fall under the same scheme”.
The move will not only allow students to enroll in two physical programmes simultaneously, but pursue two academic programmes, one in full-time physical mode and another in open and distance mode. They will also be able to join one programme in physical mode and another in online mode, while students will also have the option to pursue two online degrees simultaneously.
Regarding the attendance requirements, Kumar said, “UGC does not mandate any attendance requirements and these are the policies of the universities.”
“With the rapid increase in demand for high-quality higher education and the limitation of only enrolling about 3 per cent of students on physical campuses, there have been many developments in the fields of open and distance learning, as well as online education. Many universities are now offering both offline and online programmes,” said Kumar
He then added that the UGC will release modified regulations for online education in a few weeks, after which many top-quality institutes in India will start offering online degrees.