New Delhi, Oct. 29: Several central universities are set to implement a credit transfer policy from next year, which will allow the students of each to pursue a part of their course in one of the other institutions.
The council of central universities, which decides matters of common interest to these institutions, has approved a draft credit transfer policy that will be sent to all the 40 central universities to be considered for adoption. It will be sent to the IITs and IIMs too.
“The credit transfer system is followed in most reputable institutions across the globe and promotes student mobility and exposure. Some central universities, mostly the newer ones, will introduce it from next year,” the vice-chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Furqan Qamar, told The Telegraph.
Qamar had been asked by the human resource development ministry, whose minister heads the council, to draft the policy.
Under the policy, students of one institution can do a part of their courses in another university, from where their credits will be transferred to the parent institution, which will award the degree. The degree will mention how many credits the student earned from each institution.
“When a degree awarded by any Indian university is accepted by any other Indian university, there should not be issues with credit transfer. We are suggesting that a student can earn 25 per cent of the total credits from any recognised institution while 75 per cent has to be accumulated from the parent university,” Qamar said.
He said that while most universities agree that the “choice-based credit system” — which allows students flexibility in choosing courses — is desirable, only a few have adopted it because there is now no credit transfer system. On their own, few Indian universities are equipped to offer the wide range of courses the choice-based system demands.
To be able to adopt the credit transfer policy, a university must introduce the semester system and shift from marks-based evaluation to a credit-based regime, Central University of Bihar vice-chancellor Janak Pandey said.
Only around 15 central universities such as the Central Universities of Himachal Pradesh and Bihar have introduced the credit and semester systems, as have all the IITs and IIMs. Most of the older central universities have not yet introduced the credit system though some have switched from annual exams to semesters.
“All institutions cannot introduce credit transfer from next year as they are yet to do the groundwork, but our university is ready to adopt it,” Pandey said.
Qamar said the Central University of Himachal Pradesh had already passed an ordinance to implement credit transfer.
Ved Prakash, chairman of higher education regulator University Grants Commission, said there is some confusion on how to define a credit. Qamar’s draft policy has suggested that a course involving 30 hours of teaching should be considered one credit.
“The definition of credit is not yet clear. Some define credit in terms of the numbers of hours of teaching involved while some say credit should be defined in terms of course curricula and content. We are still debating the matter,” Prakash said. However, Pandey said both parameters amount to the same.
Many students welcomed the new draft policy. “It is a good step. If I can do part of my course in an IIM for certain papers, it will be a great experience for me,” said Soumik Bhar, a final-year MA (economics) student at the Delhi School of Economics.
He said there should be safeguards to ensure that students do not suffer by doing a part of their course outside their parent institution.
Palak, a second-year BTech (chemical engineering) student at IIT Kharagpur, wants to do a computer science course at IIT Kanpur as an additional subject.
“Every time I think about it, I become unhappy as there is no mechanism now to allow that,” she said. “I want to do certain additional courses in computer science at IIT Kanpur. Given a chance in my third or fourth year, I will definitely pursue it for sometime.”
However, the IITs and the IIMs do not have any immediate plans to adopt credit transfer. IIT Guwahati director Gautam Barua said: “We have put in place a credit transfer regime with the National Technological University of Singapore. We don’t have any such arrangement with any domestic institution, not even other IITs.”
He said the premier tech schools might allow credit transfer for MTech and PhD courses but not at the undergraduate level.
“If we allow it to undergraduates, students from all the IITs will prefer to do part courses in the reputable ones such as IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi. How do you manage such a situation?” he asked.
IIM Kozhikode director Debashis Chatterjee said: “We allow credit transfer with foreign institutions. We are considering allowing this with other Indian institutions.”