A historic decision was announced by the University Grants Commission Chairman M Jagadeesh Kumar, students will be able now to pursue two full-time academic programmes or degrees simultaneously in the physical mode, digital mode and the hybrid mode, according to their preference
He added, ‘. “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 National Education Policy (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,”
Due to this higher education reform, students will be able to pursue courses across streams and disciplines. The underlying idea is to help students gain diverse skills and holistic education. It allows them to enrol in two physical programmes, one the traditional physical mode and the other being distance learning mode.
Since all academic programmes have minimum attendance requirements for students to be able to take the exams, universities will have to devise the attendance criteria for these courses. “UGC does not mandate any attendance requirements and these are the policies of the universities.” Kumar said. He further added, “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,”
All the universities as independent entities need to adopt and ratify this. It will be effective from the upcoming academic session of 2022-23. But universities and colleges will be free to devise eligibility criteria, seat selection, and admission process. While online degrees need not require the nationalized entrance test, physical mode degrees in central universities will need to follow the CUET process for admission even for these flexible two-degree rules.