Context: Recently, the Government of India unveiled the draft National Credit Framework (NCrF) to enable the integration of academic and vocational domains.
About National Credit Framework:
- National Credit Framework is a next generation, multidimensional instrument under National Education Policy (NEP).
- Aim: To formulate a unified credit accumulation and transfer for general and vocational studies, and from school to higher education.
- Formulated under: UGC (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank Of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations, notified in July 2021.
- Credits for School Students: While the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) follows a credit system, currently there is no established credit mechanism for regular school education in the country.
- Integration of All Frameworks: Besides, frameworks for higher education and skill education are currently not integrated, and the proposal is to integrate all frameworks, including the one at school level, under one umbrella.
- NCrF will seamlessly integrate the credits earned through school education, higher education and vocational and skill education by encompassing the National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF), National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) and National School Education Qualification Framework (NSEQF).
- Aadhaar-enabled Student Registration: There are plans to conduct an “Aadhaar-enabled student registration” drive where student registration will take place.
- Academic Bank of Credits (ABC): After student registration, an Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) account will be opened, where credits can be deposited. The deposit of degree and credits will take place in those accounts.
- Knowledge Locker: There will be a knowledge locker along the lines of Digilocker.
Proposed Credit Regime under NCrF:
- At the school level: The draft NCrF proposes that the credit regime be divided into five levels:
- from pre-school to class II;
- classes III to V;
- classes VI to VIII;
- classes IX to X; and
- classes XI and XII – A student who clears class XII will be at credit level 4.
- Under the draft framework, the credit points will be carried over to the graduation level, and further.
- A student will have to earn at least 40 credits for completing each year of school, besides clearing the exams.
- The annual “notional learning” duration to earn at least 40 credits has been fixed at 1,200 hours — these will be not just time spent in classrooms but also a range of extracurricular activities and sports.
- It may include yoga, other physical activities, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on-the-job training, internships or apprenticeships, among others.
- At the higher education level:
- The credit levels will range between 4.5 and 6 at four-year courses at undergraduate level, followed by the post-graduation level (between level 6 and 7).
- The framework has provisions of credit levels going up to 8 for those who obtain doctorate degrees.
Need for NCrF:
- To open numerous options for further progression of students.
- To ensure inter-mingling of school and higher education with vocational education and experiential learning.
- To prepare the educational system for gradual implementation of National Education Policy provisions such as the four-year undergraduate programmes, which comes with features such as multiple entry and exit.
- To enable students who have dropped out of mainstream education to re-enter the education ecosystem.
Proposed Benefits for Various Stakeholder:
- Ensuring Flexibility in the duration of study/ courses through provisions of multiple entries and exit/work options
- Paving the path for creditisation of all learning hours, including academic, vocational and experiential learning.
- Provision for lifelong learning – anytime anywhere learning
- Establishing multidisciplinary and holistic education with flexible curricula
- Removing the hard distinction between the education stream and making study choices respectful, allowing for more than one award in the same period
- Removing the distinction between arts, science, social sciences, commerce, etc
- Giving student credits for every academic/ skill/ experience
- Enhancing the scope of core learning to include foundational and cognitive values.
- Unification of higher education institutions to promote multidisciplinary education, creating a diverse and rich students’ knowledge base
- Promoting stronger collaboration between institutions
- Making credit mechanism simpler and uniform
- Increasing focus on research and innovation
- Promoting digital learning, blended learning, and open distance learning
- Leveraging the institutional infrastructure
- Assisting the government to increase the enrolment of students
- Helping to fulfil the national vision of complementing the demographic dividend
- Transforming India into the Skill Capital of the World
- Making vocational education and training/ skilling aspirational
- Highly educated and trained workforce for Aatmanirbhar Bharat
- Allowing students to attain NSQF-approved foundational skills developed by industry and be more employable
- Provision of micro-credentials to allow integration of quick educational upgradation/ up-skilling
- Re-Skilling and up-skilling of existing employees/ engineers
- Making students more employable by enabling a more holistic design of the study
- Creating a multi/ cross-sectoral skilled pool of employable youth
- India is adopting technology at an unprecedented pace. There is a need to bring reforms to incentivise knowledge, skills & experience.
- Credits for knowledge acquisition, hands-on training, and positive social outcomes will be a key step for achieving 100% literacy in the next 2-3 years.
- All institutions, schools, ITIs, AICTE-affiliated engineering colleges, centrally-funded HEIs, state universities and regulatory authorities/bodies should host the public consultation for NCrF on their website for seeking suggestions from citizens.
- It also supports educational acceleration for students with gifted learning abilities and Recognition of Prior Learning for the workforce that has acquired knowledge and skills informally through the traditional family inheritance, work experience or other methods.
Source: The Hindu