Are our students endowed with knowledge that will change the future of India? Are colleges and universities effectively transforming students as knowledge practitioners? These are few myriad of questions revolving around the higher education system in India.
Unfazed by constant stream of criticism and scrutiny, the Indian government has started to find ways for a major shakeup in college level education in India. In a major move, the HRD Ministry led by Smriti Irani and the University Grants Commission (UGC) have asked the universities across India to introduce grading system and take a “quick action” towards the semesterisation of their course curricula.
A New Grading System
The new grading system will start from the academic year 2015-16. Presently, most universities follow the numerical marking and credit systems instead of grading system. However, the new move will ensure the seamless mobility of students across institutions.
The UGC has asked universities to introduce credit framework for skill development (CFSD) and the choice-based credit system (CBCS). Under CBCS criteria, students will pursue three types of courses including foundation, core and elective. All the students will pursue core and foundation subjects in every semester, but will be able to select elective subjects that are either related or unrelated to their disciplines.
The new grading system will be based on providing different letters for different brackets of scores such as O for Outstanding, if a student has got marks from 90.1 to 100, A+ for Excellent for obtaining marks from 80.1 to 90, so on and so forth. The HRD Ministry will set up a joint working group in order to sort out critical issues in implementing the CBCS system.
How will the new grading system help students at Indian universities?
CBCS and semesterisation system will enhance the knowledge of students because they will be exposed to different subjects. By removing the marking system, the UGC wants to bring interdisciplinary approach to learning as followed in top educational institutions in India such as NIT Rourkela, IITs, and IIMs among others. Students can opt for courses of their own choice and acquire more than the required credits. The grading system will enable students to learn at their own pace and attend additional courses.
The Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) imminently fits into the emerging socio-economic milieu of India. This system focuses on two urgent issues of Indian universities, i.e. curricular flexibility and learners’ mobility. The CBCS represents a shift in focus from teacher-centric to learner-centric education in universities. If the two reforms – semesterisation and grading system – are implemented successfully by the UGC, the so-called crisis in our education system may get eliminated soon!