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Mid-course varsity switch ahead

New Delhi, Nov. 25: Students will be able to switch mid-course from one central university to another for the first time from next year.

Those studying in state universities may, however, have to wait a while longer.

The University Grants Commission is in the final stages of drawing up a blueprint that will permit smooth transfer of credits earned in one university to another.

“The final blueprint will be ready by December. Central universities will be able to implement the transfer mechanism from the 2008 academic session,” UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat told The Telegraph.

This is the first time the UGC has declared a timeline to implement the proposal that has enjoyed consensus across the higher education community for some time now.

The main argument in its favour is the increasing number of people who work while studying. Currently, professionals moving from one city to another often leave their course mid-way, universities have told the UGC.

Thorat said transfers across state universities were not likely to be possible from next year. “Let us start with central universities. We will look at state universities next,” he said.

The UGC has already decided to implement a slew of reforms, such as dividing a course into semesters instead of years, and introducing credits in place of marks in universities, from next year.

Allowing students to switch universities has proved difficult to implement as it requires uniformity in courses, curricula and equivalence in student evaluation standards.

A UGC study earlier this year had shown sharp differences in the standards of higher education institutions.

Bengal and the Northeast together have eight of the country’s 21 central universities but none made the UGC’s “A” grade during evaluation.

Two state universities from Bengal — Calcutta University and Jadavpur University — were the only institutions from the two regions to make the top grade.

In comparison, universities — both central and state-run — from the north, west and the south performed far better in the assessment.

“We do not want a situation where a university is uncomfortable accepting the credits earned by a student in another university,” the UGC chairman said.

A UGC committee is working on standardising evaluation criteria across central universities so that the value of credits earned by students is uniform.

The job is harder when it comes to state universities because they are larger in number.

Once the “blueprint” is ready, the UGC and the human resource development ministry will issue guidelines to allow smooth transfer among central universities, Thorat said.

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