On 21st Jan 2021, the UGC released the draft rules for the Academic Bank of Credits. Let us understand what is this and how it will help the students.
Academic Bank of Credits, or ABC, will be like a bank where credits earned by students can be deposited, transferred, accumulated, and used for getting degrees. It will be similar to a bank where we can transact with the money we have earned.
One credit is typically equal to 15 hours of coursework, completed over a semester of typically 15 weeks. This means, if you are attending classes for a subject for 3 hours every week, you will get 3 credits for the subject after the semester.
Different universities and programs have different requirements of the total number of credits you need to earn in order to complete that degree. Let us understand the concept of ABC by assuming that we have to earn 100 credits to get a BBA degree.
So how is ABC different from the current system?
The BBA degree in India is generally completed in a period of 3 years. With ABC, the duration is flexible because you can complete the courses required for BBA at your own pace and keep accumulating those credits in your account.
If you are studying at Delhi University for a BBA program, you don’t need to complete all courses from your department alone. You can study courses from different departments, or even different universities, based on your interests. This will allow multi-disciplinary and choice-based education.
So you may complete BBA with a few courses in design, technology, and history.
Needless to say, you need to complete the prerequisites of a course in order to be able to enroll in it. So you can’t do ‘advanced accounting’ unless you have done ‘basics of accounting’. These prerequisites will be decided by the respective institutions.
After starting your higher education, you may find your areas of interest and may want to change your degree. With ABC, this is entirely possible.
You can start doing courses in different subjects as per your interest and collect sufficient credits to make you eligible for a degree in that course. So for example, after starting your BBA studies, you may earn 40 out of 100 credits in psychology and graduate with a BA in Psychology.
Moreover, you don’t need to finish your education at the same institution you started it with. You can study from different institutions as per your choice, allowing you to design your own degree.
If you choose 100% of your credits from different areas, a new degree called Bachelor of Liberal Education may be awarded.
How will the ABC work?
To enable this, the government will set up a digital bank where the student can open their accounts. The higher education institutions will send the data of courses you complete to the ABC so that it gets accumulated in your account. Courses from SWAYAM or other authorized platforms will also be counted in the ABC.
Since you can choose a course from different universities, there could be a separate admission process for each course. Similarly, the fee could be different for each credit. So you will pay per credit rather than per semester or per year. After you have gained a sufficient number of credits for a degree, you may redeem those credits to get that degree, and the credits will no longer be available in your account.
Impact on fee, credit period, program duration:
The ABC may take a processing fee from the students to store and transact with the credits. The regulations have suggested that the credits will have a life of up to 7 years after you earn them. Since you are allowed to earn credits based on your choice, it is not that you can complete the requirements for the entire degree in a single year or semester. Maximum relaxation of one semester is allowed for a degree that is of two or more years.
Get ready for a highly flexible model of education. Now you will have the power. And with great power, comes great responsibility; your responsibility to design your own education.
These are the draft rules. If you have any suggestions, please send them to the government on firstname.lastname@example.org by 5th February 2021. The document can be accessed below: