An Academic Flexibility

Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) has been introduced in higher education to introduce flexibility in mode, place, time and speed
"The National Education Policy-2020 in Chapter 11, Para 9 has mentioned that the ABC will be established to virtually store the credits earned by a student from various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)."
"The National Education Policy-2020 in Chapter 11, Para 9 has mentioned that the ABC will be established to virtually store the credits earned by a student from various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)."static.businessworld/ Stephan Jockel [Creative Commons]

The NEP-2020 has envisaged learner-centered education. It is a decisive step towards transforming education sector in India. Our society has come to realize that it is the proper time to respond to the needs, aspirations, and dreams of our students; who remain the main stakeholders in education.

Keeping student centrality in view, New Education Policy has offered the suitability of various modes of learning covering from face to face mode, to distance mode, to the virtual one. The multi-disciplinary to interdisciplinary to trans-disciplinary programs and multi-modal approaches have also been recommended.

Besides these, multiple entry and exit points have been carved out in the form of various higher education levels (see NHEQF draft doc.). For the first time, much attention has been put on humanities, and above all, Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) has been introduced in higher education to factor flexibility in mode, place, time and speed.

The National Education Policy-2020 in Chapter 11, Para 9 has mentioned that the ABC will be established to virtually store the credits earned by a student from various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Now ABC, a Digi-locker has been established by the Ministry of Education, GOI, and it was established on the pattern of National Academic Depository (NAD) that aims to ensure a proper mechanism for online uploading and authentication of the credits earned by a student from an institution.

Recognized HEIs of the country have been asked to register on ABC via NAD that will serve as a Digital Repository for Academic Institutions. At the initial stage, over 41 crore authentic digital educational awards have been kept available in this Digi-locker.

Although ABC will enable students to deposit earned credits or initiate credit transfer, the redemption & compilation of credits and awarding any degree diploma or certificate will be the responsibility of the host institution through NAD Platform. As HEIs are the actual providers of student academic awards, they should register on ABC and create institutional account.

At this preliminary stage, ABC will accept only those credits earned by students awarded by the registered HEIs into the accounts of students. It will be operated and shared by the concerned institutions directly.

Thus, the credits submitted and awarded by the recognized institution will be accepted for storage, integration and validation. Here the main feature of ABC would be to maintain the authenticity and confidentiality of student credits.

ABC will also be helpful for easy credit transfer through a single-window system after getting the approval of source and destination. Credit transfer is the procedure of granting credit for a component of proficiency formerly attained from another institution for a particular course that works to augment student mobility from one institution to another. It also intends to encourage students to maximize credits necessary for improving qualifications.

The main focus of ABC will be to open windows for multiple exit and multiple entry for students at different levels. If a student intends to shift from one institution to another, the credits banked in the student account by the former institution can be transferred for the accumulation to the account of the new institution where the student has moved.

The shelf life of the credit earned by a student has been put as seven years. If credits are redeemed for a particular award, these will be permanently debited from the account of the student.

ABC is a cautiously created academic bank that offers flexibility to the students to meet academic targets. UGC has given some building blocks of ABC for proper understanding: A student of higher education can now opt for any subject combinations, including specializations as major and minors. It is so flexible that now ABC has merged all regular, distance, and online modes in one frame.

The flexibility in student mobility to any national or international recognized institution has been made possible. Through ABC, credits earned in any field could be converted into qualifications. It has also made the lifelong learning process relevant, and the notion of a fixed time for education has been done away with.

Now, a student shall have the opportunity to indulge in a medley but the exciting variety of courses leading to a Bachelor of Liberal Education if the credits could not be added in a specific cafeteria/discipline. In this way, ABC has increased the student’s academic autonomy and has enhanced institutional accountability.

NEP-2020 has visualized education as a great leveler and the most credible tool for achieving Sustainable Developmental Goals. More Initiatives are needed to ensure that all students are provided with a variety of targeted openings to cross the hindered line and shine.

Through ABC, students have been given a chance to pick up teachers and timings of their choice. Keeping their needs, interests and individual differences in consideration, students are allowed to frame their own courses and design & tailor degrees for themselves and a provision for examinations on demand and at will has also been included.

Dr. Mohammad Sayid Bhat is Sr. Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Central University of Kashmir.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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