UGC releases draft national higher education qualification framework
From job readiness to entrepreneurship mindset, understanding of ethical and constitutional values to application of knowledge, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has listed a range of learning outcomes to assess students at different levers as it released a draft National Higher Educational Qualification Framework (NHEQF).
The draft framework, released as part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 implementation, was put in the public domain on Monday. The commission has sought suggestions from various stakeholders by February 13.
According to the draft document, the NHEQF has set up certain parameters of assessments for students in higher education institutions and divided it in levels 5 to 10.
Levels 1 to 4 cover the school education.
“The NHEQF level 5 represents learning outcomes appropriate to the first year (first two semesters) of the undergraduate programme of study, while Level 10 represents learning outcomes appropriate to the doctoral-level programme of study,” it stated.
The draft framework has outlined several learning level “descriptors” or parameters based on which students can be assessed at every level. These parameters include generic learning outcomes, constitutional, ethical, and moral values, employment ready skills, entrepreneurship mindset, and application of knowledge and skills among others.
“The NHEQF envisages that students on completion of a programme of study must possess and demonstrate the expected graduate profile/attributes acquired,” the draft framework stated.
It also fixes the number of credits required to clear the different levels of the four-year undergraduate programme, postgraduate degrees and doctoral degrees. The NEP 2020 allows multiple entry and exits at the undergraduate level. It effectively means that students can exit after completing one year of undergraduate programme with a certificate, after two years with a diploma, after three years with a bachelor’s degree, or can complete four years and get an honours degree with a honours/research degree.
As per the draft NHEQF, as many as 40 credits will be required for a certificate, 80 for a diploma, 120 for a degree and 160 credits will be needed for a degree with honours/research.
“A credit is a unit by which the coursework is measured. It determines the number of hours of instruction required per week for the duration of a semester (15-16 weeks). One credit is equivalent to one hour of teaching (lecture or tutorial) or two hours of practical or field work per week. Credit is awarded to a learner in recognition of the verified achievement of defined learning outcomes at a specified level,” the draft added.
Explaining the reason behind drafting NHEQF, the document stated, “It has been felt that given the size of the higher education system and the diversity of institutions and programmes of study in India, the country needs to move towards developing a nationally accepted and internationally comparable and acceptable qualifications framework to facilitate transparency and comparability of higher education qualifications at all levels. The NHEQF is an attempt in this direction.”
It further states that the NHEQF does not intend to promote a common or uniform curriculum across all higher education institutions. “The purpose is to bring up/elevate all higher education institutions to a common level of benchmarking to ensure that all institutions are providing quality education,” it added.