ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Endangering Academic Autonomy

The University Grants Commission is pushing through a proposal for a uniform choice-based credit system. This would transform the entire university architecture of the country and have far-reaching consequences for higher education. Unfortunately, neither has the UGC taken the experiences of Kerala seriously nor has it spent sufficient time taking feedback from the university community. A sterile, regressive uniformity is being pushed without thought to the consequences.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has embarked on a novel mission, with the declared objective of revamping the higher education sector in the country, the scope of which is quite unparalleled in its history since its inception as a statutory body in 1956. The public notice dated 10 April 2015 put up on its website1 bears testimony to the fact that what is envisaged is nothing short of a complete and comprehensive makeover of the higher education system in the country. Unfortunately, discussions befitting the scale of the proposed changes have neither taken place nor have opinions been solicited in earnest by the UGC. Therefore these recommendations need to be discussed not only by the immediate stakeholders but across other broader platforms as well.

The notification opens with the statement that “the UGC has embarked on numerous measures to enhance efficiency and excellence in the higher education system in the country.” As we look expectantly below for a list of the latest innovative measures, we find to our dismay that the reference was to the various measures that the UGC had attempted to carry out in the past. Thereafter, the notice informs us that as a result of the diversity in the evaluation system followed across the universities in the country the students find it difficult to get their credentials accepted by other universities across the country and also by the various employment agencies. To address this grievance and to ensure “seamless mobility” of students across universities the UGC has formulated detailed guidelines for the adoption of a uniform “Choice Based Credit System” (CBCS) all over the country to facilitate credit transfer across universities.

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