Understanding Academic Bank of Credits

The focus is to develop job providers and not job seekers, to meet the employers' growing needs and align the Indian educational setup with international standards.
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The new National Education Policy which became effective from July 2020 is now a buzzword; we all say NEP 2020. Some people at different forums even call it as nep, which is however, an inappropriate denotation for this vision document which aims to see India a “Global Knowledge Superpower” and “Skill Hub”. The NEP 2020 recommendations based on its principle of  AEE [access, equity and equality] in Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) related to multidisciplinarity (amalgamation of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities), four year undergraduate program with honours or research [FYUGP], one year PG, inclusion of one year research for a two year PG programme, experimental learning, internship with industries, research centres, etc., integration of research and innovation, outcome based approach to education, entrepreneurship, skill and vocational training, subject specific pedagogical approaches, revision of CBCS with credit framework, adoption of massive open online courses through SWAYAM and other online portals and use of digital technology with general or mainstream education at UG level in HEIs are its cornerstone. The focus is to develop job providers and not job seekers, to meet the employers' growing needs and align the Indian educational setup with international standards.

To entail academic mobility and flexibility with removal of rigid boundaries of gaining multidisciplinary education, the concept of establishment of a national level facility - the ABC (academic bank of credits) has induced the spirit of novel learning pathways to the process of degree earning and awarding as per the wish, choice, need, aspirations and taste of a learner.

Further, to meet the demands of choice based learning or studying at home or abroad, online or offline, within a single institution or across the institutions, institutional partnering and collaborations, dual degree or single degree with additional courses including skills and vocational courses, the ABC scheme is expected to make it easier and possible as per the learner aspirations and institutional specifications.

It is important to recapitulate here what we mean by one academic credit. A credit is a standard methodology of calculating one clock hour of theory or one hour of tutorial or two hours of practical (laboratory work) per week in an academic semester consisting of 15 weeks/90 working days earned by a student and awarded by a HEI after due assessment and evaluation.

Thus ABC is simply an academic bank account opened for students across the country to provide autonomy to students to earn the credits through any online educational platform as well in an offline mode in one or more HEIs (anytime, anywhere and any level of learning) and to transfer and consolidate such credits.

Therefore, it allows the credit accumulation and redemption through the process of commuting the gained credits in the ABC account of a student (maintained in an HEI) to be finally awarded as a certificate, diploma or degree by the approved and authorized HEI. 

Thus ABC scheme enables student mobility across HEIs and credits awarded to a student for one program/course from one institution may be transferred/redeemed by another institution or to another program or course within the same institution upon students’ consent.

Therefore, ABC is an educational digital platform created to facilitate students’ seamless mobility between or within degree-granting HEIs through a formal system of credit recognition, credit accumulation, credit transfers, and credit redemption in order to promote distributed and flexible teaching and learning.

Thus every student as to register for ABC account through DigiLocker to get a unique ID of 12 numerical digits. Similarly, every HEI offering academic mobility has to register for ABC on NAD (national academic depository through DigiLocker portal for digital empowerment of students. Thus, creation of world class digital infrastructure in HEIs and addressing the digital divide at institutional level and between the institutions must form the priority of administration.

Hence, DigiLocker is a flagship initiative and sole repository for NAD (a 24x7 digital repository for academic institutions) under Digital India programme as an online store house of ALL ACADEMIC AWARDS viz. certificates, diplomas, degrees, mark-sheets, etc. duly digitized and lodged by HEIs and other academic bodies/boards in a digital format as per the instructions and guidelines of NAD and importantly validating their accuracy, genuineness, authenticity, safe storage and easy retrieval.

Thus it is binding for all HEIs to accept degrees, mark-sheets and other educational documents of a student presented through DigiLocker platform as valid documents and the printed copy of educational awards shall not be required to be fulfilled by a student while enrolling for admission or submitting them for some other purpose. Further, the issued documents in DigiLocker system are deemed to be at par with original physical documents as per Rule 9A of the IT (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries providing Digital Locker facilities) Rules, 2016.

Students and other stakeholders, kindly be informed that all the academic credentials including credit courses and transcripts, certificates, diplomas, degrees, etc. will be available on the institutional NAD portal and DigiLocker in future (in fact it is already functional and operational for thousands of educational and other institutions in the country). Therefore, students must get fully aware and understand the ABC facility completely and maintain the ABC account with all credit and debit features vis-a-vis academic credits anchored through the ABC ID analogous to a typical bank account.

The writer is a faculty of Zoology, Deputy Controller Examination and Nodal Officer NAD-DigiLocker at Islamia College of Science and Commerce (Autonomous), Srinagar.

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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