Varsities around the globe prefer flexibility

  • Jeevan Prakash Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2015 18:21 IST
The Ivy League institutions have attracted Indians for decades. (Agencies)

Universities across the globe, including the Ivy league institutes, have set flexible time duration for native students to complete various degree courses.

For George Joseph, director, South Asia, Yale University, “The vast majority of American universities — including Yale — measure progress toward the completion of an undergraduate degree in terms of earned academic credits rather than the length of time in the programme. The typical US undergraduate degree programme is around 30 to 40 individual courses that are completed over four years, although some students may complete the necessary credits in less than four years and others may require longer than four years, particularly if they are pursuing their education on a part-time and not a full-time basis,” he adds.

Joseph doesn’t believe in rigid deadlines for students to complete their degree programmes because a number of reasons lead to students not completing their requirements in the set period.

Like the US, universities in UK, too, are in favour of flexible norms as far as the time taken to complete a degree course is concerned. “Universities have an obligation to be as flexible as possible to allow for the individual circumstances of each student. In the UK maximum limits are typically set to ensure that the student’s knowledge and competency are current, and that the university can assure the quality of the degree as programmes naturally evolve over time to remain contemporaneous,” says Professor Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton.

Similar flexible norms are practiced by universities in Australia as well. Professor John Simons, deputy vice-chancellor (academic), Macquarie University, Sydney, says, “The standard requirement of span time for a BA degree at Macquarie University is ten years, much longer than what is allowed in India. Broadly speaking, completion depends on the accumulation of the requisite number of credits at the requisite levels so students who are taking a long time (often because they are studying part time) will frequently have failed units in their profile which they make up for by passing others.”

“There is no strong reason why a time factor should be an extra consideration nor why students should not be given multiple chances to pass specific units,” he adds.

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