Reforms required in higher education ; Choice based Credit System

Higher Education  paves the path for growth and is a generator of ultimate knowledge and innovation. India’s Higher education sector should come in pace with global standards benchmarks

Rising costs of higher education and the changing profile of education seekers, aided by technological innovation are leading to the creation of alternative models of knowledge dispensation. Central universities have the responsibility to lead the transformative processes of India’s higher education system.

Reforms that need to be brought in are : –

(1) Steps to create an eco-system for research and innovation : – The recently launched Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching will set performance standards and create world-class facilities for innovative teaching. There should be an increased stress on publication and research papers which will help in improving quality by leaps and bounds.

(2) Capacity development of faculty, alumni participation and use of technology.

(3) Deepen engagement of Central Universities with community and address the growing disparity between cities and villages. Increase capacity and intake in the higher educational institutions. In many fields we are stagnating like pure sciences. Increasing attention needs to be paid to that now.

(4) Creating international and national networks for quality education : – Under Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), the HRD Ministry has asked Central Universities for a list of eminent scholars and researchers for inviting them as guest speakers or scholars. An e-platform needs to be developed to facilitate scholars from within and outside the country to log in their details. It shall, in due course, lead to creation of a robust database of global experts for the Indian higher education system. There will be constraint for resources. But a balance needs to achieved between international and domestic resources. Young academicians within the nation should be encouraged.

(5) A blended Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) strategy and SWAYAM (Study Web of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) could pave the way for speed, scale and efficiency for teaching in the higher education system.

(6) Central Universities must establish Innovation clubs , Inspired Teachers’ Network, and Industry-interface cells within the stipulated time.

(7) In addition to international rankings, the universities should attempt ratings on a National Ranking Framework which needs to be expeditiously developed

(7) Adoption of Choice Based Credit System.

CBCS provides choice for students to select from the prescribed courses.  The credit based semester system provides flexibility in designing curriculum and assigning credits based on the course content and hours of teaching. The choice based credit system provides a ‘cafeteria’ type approach in which the students can take courses of their choice, learn at their own pace, undergo additional courses and acquire more than the required credits, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Mobility should be provided to students. If they want to transfer from Institute A to B, his credits should also be transferred.

Choice Based Credit System must be implemented from the academic year 2015-16 in all Central Universities. Each Central university will set up a Community Development Cell which will identify at least 5 villages in its vicinity for adoption as model villages by the university.

Prerequisites for CBCS : – Besides introduction of semester system, restructuring of syllabi in the form of modules, standardisation of examinations and switching over from numerical marking system from grading system are among the prerequisites for the introduction of the choice-based credit system.

Problems : – normal tendency is to move from not so well known institution to better ones. Peripheral universities might be sidelined and it will also create institutional pressure and infrastructural bottlenecks to the target institute/university.

Hurried implementation of drastic restructuring without rigorous academic scrutiny will fail the responsibility that the university has towards students.

(8) Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) should be implemented properly. It addressed the overall quality of existing State higher educational institutions. Improve it by ensuring their conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework. Certain academic, administrative and governance reforms are a precondition for receiving funding under RUSA. Under RUSA, participating States are permitted to mobilize 50% of the State contribution of funding through Public-Private Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility funds, philanthropic contributions etc.

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