Why a uniform credit framework will integrate the education sector

Each student will have their own credit bank and the opportunity to earn credits through projects, case and instructional self-studies.

A National Credit Framework (NCrF) is soon to be finalised by the Centre, for a which the release of its draft is in the pipeline. The NCrF aims to bring the whole education system within its ambit, starting from school onwards right up to the postgraduate and PhD levels. The system will give due weightage to both curricular and extracurricular activities including sports, school/university projects and internships.
“For the first time, an effort is being made to integrate school, higher education, industry and skill education,” says MP Poonia, vice-chairman, AICTE while talking to

Education Times

.

“In higher education, students will become the architects of their own education and skills with the flexibility to choose courses and pursue them at their own pace and convenience. They can take breaks during their academics and join the industry for future prospects as part of the multiple entry-exit options in the scheme. All through this, there will be no gaps in students’ credit accumulation and academia-industry orientation. The UGC’s dual degree programme or even a combination of online and offline programmes may fall under the framework’s purview,” Poonia adds, emphasising that the NEP 2020 approach towards student-centric education will be fulfilled through this initiative.

Credit level and coursework

The draft Framework has proposed credit levels from class V, beginning with Level 1 before moving on to credit level two in class VIII. In class X and XII, students will be at level 3 and 4 respectively. From secondary level onwards, the credit level will increase by 0.5 for every year of learning and that includes the four years of undergraduate education where students will move through 4.5, 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0; postgraduate studies will include levels 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 while PhD will be at credit level eight.
There would be 1,200 hours of learning in an academic year for which 40 credits can be earned. In case of early school education, this will be pared down to 800/1,000 hours.
The framework involving senior officials from the ministries of education, skill development & entrepreneurship and the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) is being finetuned through a committee, with representatives from the UGC, AICTE, CBSE, NCERT, NIOS.

Once the draft framework is out for public feedback, a plan is likely to be drawn up for its step wise implementation. The role of the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) may be expanded by the committee to include the management of credits at the school level. The ABC will be linked to the Digilocker for verification and credits transfer.

Outcome-based learning

Talking about the framework, Saroj Sharma, chairman, NIOS, explains, “Every class has been given a certain number of credits, and efforts have been made to integrate skill courses with conventional ones. At NIOS, where education is imparted through open and distance learning mode apart from 103 vocational courses, the credit framework will be of utmost importance. We will follow 1200 mandatory credits for each year, with flexible entry exit options across boards in keeping with NEP 2020. Additionally, each student will have their own credit bank and the opportunity to earn credits through projects, case and instructional self-studies. The emphasis, overall, will be on outcome-based learning for everything that they undertake both within and outside the classroom.”
A senior official from NCERT on condition of anonymity, says, “The skill credits for newer technologies will raise students’ employability quotient.”

Seamless transition

“There are altogether 60 school boards in the country today. Accumulation of credits through different boards will provide students ease of access and greater freedom in terms of course choices, certification and curricula. They will be able to make a seamless transition across boards and universities through multiple modes. With the convergence of online, offline and mixed mode learning, the National Credit Framework comes at a timely juncture,” he adds.

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