Agnipath scheme: Training of Agniveers to be considered as credits
On Wednesday, the education ministry said it will launch a three-year, skill-based bachelor degree for serving defence personnel that will recognise the skill training received by them during their tenure.
A day after the Centre announced the launch of Agnipath scheme for short-term induction of soldiers in the armed forces, the Union ministry of education on Wednesday said it will consider the in-service training received by these Agniveers as credits for admission to different undergraduate programmes to help them pursue civilian careers of their choice.
These specialised programmes will be offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the ministry said in a statement.
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved Agnipath, a scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces, and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’. The scheme seeks to recruit soldiers, including women, for only four years with a provision to retain 25% of them in the regular cadre for 15 more years after another round of screening.
On Wednesday, the education ministry said it will launch a special, three-year, skill-based bachelor degree programme for serving defence personnel that will recognise the skill training received by them during their tenure in the defence establishments. A Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between IGNOU and the Army, the Navy and the Air Force for implementation of the scheme.
Under this programme, which has been designed by IGNOU and will also be executed by it, 50% of the credits required for a graduate degree will come from the skill training — both technical and non-technical — received by the Agniveer. “The remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects such as languages, economics, history, political science, public administration, sociology, mathematics, education, commerce, tourism, vocational studies, agriculture and jyotish, as also ability enhancement courses on environmental studies and communication skills in English,” the ministry said in a statement.
This programme is aligned with norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC), and with the National Credit Framework / National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) as mandated under the National Education Policy-2020. The programme will also provide exit and entry options to the Agniveers in line with the NEP-2020.
“It also has provision for multiple exit points — undergraduate certificate on successful completion of the first-year courses, undergraduate diploma on successful completion of the first and second-year courses, and degree on completion of all the courses in a three-year time frame,” the ministry said.
The framework of the programme has been recognised by the concerned regulatory bodies, including the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) and UGC.
“The degree will be awarded by IGNOU as per UGC nomenclature [BA; B.Com; BA (vocational); BA (tourism management)], and will be recognised both in India and abroad for employment and education,” the ministry said.
UGC chairperson Jagadesh Kumar said the commission will work with IGNOU on the programmes. “UGC and IGNOU are working together to provide recognition for the skills acquired by Agniveers. In addition, once the Digital University is established, Agniveers will have the opportunity to do courses in emerging areas. This will make them future ready,” Kumar said.