The Centre has brought all recognised higher education institutions, irrespective of their accreditation or rankings, under the ambit of the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) , enabling students to switch between institutions and multiple entries and exits to and from the programme.
The ABC framework is part of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and will allow higher education institutions to maintain a digital repository of credits earned by students; under ABC, students can choose to study one course in a year in one institution and switch to another one the next year. The framework also allows students to pursue courses online and earn credits. While mandatory under NEP 2020, institutions have the flexibility of adopting it at a time of their choice.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 28, 2021, notified ABC and issued the UGC (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations, 2021.
On Wednesday, the commission wrote to all universities and colleges informing them about the amendment made in the regulations. “It was felt that the universities and autonomous colleges satisfying sub-regulation 2 of regulation 1 and the institutions of national importance as declared by the government of India and specifically empowered by an Act of Parliament to confer or grant degrees, irrespective of their NAAC or NIRF ranking should be able to participate and register in the academic bank of credits. In this regard, the amendments have been notified in the Gazette of India on 28 December, 2021.”
The July 28, 2021, regulations, made it compulsory for higher education institutions that received ‘A’ grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or fall in the top 100 National Institutions Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings, to register for ABC.
However, under the UGC (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank of Credits in Higher Education) (First Amendment) Regulations, 2021, now any university or college, irrespective of ranking, can participate and register to come under the ABC framework. This will include both central and state universities, deemed-to-be universities and autonomous institutions.
“All higher education institutions are once again requested to take appropriate steps for joining ABC Platform at the earliest. Further, you are requested to kindly make the students of your University/institution aware of the ABC facility and encourage theln for opening Academic Bank Account,” the UGC letter added.
Officials at the UGC said that as many as 40 central universities have already decided to adopt ABC. “ ABC gives liberty to students to choose the pace of their studies, tailor their degrees, and enable multiple entry-multiple exit for students to complete their degrees as per their time preferences. It was important that all higher education institutions be allowed to opt for it,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.
Abha Dev Habib, member of the Delhi University Teachers Association, said that ABC will reduce the role of universities and teachers. “It will damage students’ education and growth. Universities are known for their course curriculum and syllabi. No good university should allow deviation from their prescribed structure and syllabi. ABC Regulations are aimed at reducing grants to public universities by cutting costs on teacher hiring and pushing students to online education in the name of “choice”.”
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