University grants Commission (UGC) announced last year about CBCS as a part of its plan of measures to bring equality, efficiency and excellence in the higher education system. Students will be able to select from prescribed courses, such as elective, core or minor or soft skill courses, so as to obtain the required number of credits prescribed for the degree they will be pursuing. It is a semester based system and involves awarding grades rather than giving marks.
Human Resource Development Ministry wants this system adopted; but why?
The Ministry has pointed out various advantages of Choice Based Credit System over the normal grading system. For instance with CBCS, student will be able to go for courses of their choice across various disciplines and pursue those skills that are required for enhancing their scope of employability. On the other hand, the grading system offers the option of seamless mobility of students across different institutions.
To sum up, UGC explains the CBCS as a kind of a system with ‘cafetaria’ type approach. In which students are able to take up courses suited to them, learn at their own pace and also undergo extra courses if the need arises, get more than the credits required and adopt a totally interdisciplinary approach to learning. According to the ministry, the ‘credit framework for skills’ allows a wide plethora of pathways between vocational education, skills, and education and job markets.
This system is applicable to whom ?
As per UGC guidelines go, this CBCS will be applicable to all undergraduate and postgraduate level degree, certificate and diploma programs under the credit system awarded by the central, state and deemed-to-be universities. As per the Commission guidelines, “it is desirable that the HELs (Higher Educational Institutions) move to CBCS and implement the grading system.”
Related : Delhi University adopts CBCS
When does the new system start operating ?
UGC has advised all universities to adopt the system from current academic year. UGC has also put out a public notice on ‘Minimum Course Curriculum’ for undergraduate courses under CBCS and sought feedback from the stakeholders. But how the entire thing is to unfold, there is still doubt on that front. Undergraduate admissions which are to begin this week in Delhi University is yet to issue instructions to colleges regarding the adoption of the new system. Colleges are yet to know the detailed report and they are in the dark regarding the timetables, syllabus, or workload assessments which the CBCS will entail.
Lack of clarity is the biggest issue regarding the introduction of Choice Based Credit System. No one yet knows what this will entail for teachers, students, or colleges under question. People who are against this have complained that these are ‘top-down reforms’ being thrust upon universities, rather than being coming from the universities themselves. Also the UGC’s suggestion of a common minimum syllabus with only 20 percent flexibility to deviate has created confusion as it impinges upon the autonomy of the concerned universities.