The University Grants Commission (UGC) has set-up Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) – a virtual entity which will keep records of all the students in the Indian higher education space. It is set-up with an aim to provide students with mobility of not only moving between institutes while pursuing one degree but also offers the flexibility of leaving a course and rejoining it after taking some time off from where a student had left it. It also supports the multiple entries and exists systems as offered under the National Education Policy (NEP) which enable a student to get appropriate certification who decide to leave a programme after a certain time period.
WHAT IS ABC?
Academic Bank of Credit referred to as ABC is a virtual store-house which will keep records of academic credits secured by a student. It is drafted on the lines of the National Academic Depository. It will function as a commercial bank where students will be the customers and ABC will offer several services to these students. Students will have to open an Academic Bank Account and every account holder would be provided with a unique id and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The academic accounts of students will have credits awarded by higher education Institutes to students for the courses they are pursuing. However, ABC will not accept any credit course document directly from the students, and its institutes which will make the deposits in students’ accounts.
WHAT WILL ABC DO?
ABC will be responsible for opening, closing, and validating the academic accounts of students. It will also perform tasks including credit verification, credit accumulation, credit transfer/redemption of students, and promotion of the ABC among the stakeholders. The courses will also include online and distance mode courses offered through National Schemes like SWAYAM, NPTEL, V-Lab etc. The validity of these academic credits earned by students will be up to seven years. The validity can also vary based on the subject or discipline. Students can redeem these credits.
For instance, if a student has accumulated 100 credits which are equivalent to say one year and they decide to drop out. Once they decide to rejoin they can redeem this credit and seek admission directly in the second year at any university. The validity will be up to seven years, hence, students will have to rejoin within seven years.
ABC’s IMPACT ON EDUCATION INSTITUTES
The participating HEIs in the ABC scheme will enable students to build their degrees as per their choices. The participating higher education institutes will have to amend their rules in terms of course registration, course requirements, acceptance for inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary courses, Credits to be offered to these courses, credit transfers, and credits acceptance from other approved institutions.
As per UGC guidelines, the higher education institutes will have to allow students to acquire credits 50-70% of credits assigned to a degree from any institute. Students, depending upon their needs can take this opportunity. Students who opt to shift their institution will have to get the remaining 30-50% credits from the education institute they have registered with. This, says, UGC will ensure that students secured the minimum credits to be secured in the core subject area.
If any university or college registered with ABC does not fulfill the conditions or requirements for the implementation of the ABC scheme, the commission may recommend the removal of such an institution from ABC and any other appropriate penal punishment as decided by the Commission.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The recommendations under the ABC scheme are prepared by a committee appointed by UGC. These recommendations are put on UGC’s official website, ugc.ac.in and the Commission is seeking suggestions based on the draft. If any stakeholders have any comments or suggestions they can send them to UGC on firstname.lastname@example.org on or before March 25. Stakeholders include students, parents, academicians, prospective students, alumni among others.