Two degrees step will give chance to students to customise their education: UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar | India News – Times of India

Will allowing a student to pursue two degrees in physical mode deprive others from getting admission, or can a student do two science degree programmes simultaneously? UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar answers these queries and many more in an exclusive interview with TOI’s Manash Gohain. Excerpts from the interview.
What is the need for students to do two degrees simultaneously in physical mode?
NEP advocates that higher educational institutes (HEIs) provide multidisciplinary and holistic education to students so that their education is not limited by disciplinary boundaries. This is also to give an opportunity to the students to personalise and customize their education based on their abilities and aspirations.
But won’t it be too taxing on them?
Pursuing two degree programmes simultaneously is only a choice and it is not mandatory. Only those who are highly motivated, able to take the additional work and who can do the time management should opt for such programmes.
Can an HEI offer two physical programmes simultaneously?
There are multiple ways. If an HEI has a daytime programme and also runs a different evening programme, it can. Or, it can happen if an HEI runs a daytime programme but signs an MoU with another HEI that runs an evening programme, and both permit each other’s students to do two programmes simultaneously in physical mode. This is also in tune with the UGC guidelines for transforming HEIs into multidisciplinary institutions. These norms advocate academic collaboration through HEI clusters to provide multidisciplinary education.
Will it not deprive others from getting admission in good institutions?
HEIs, while permitting students to do two programmes in physical mode, either in their institute or in another institute through a collaboration, have to design their admission policies carefully to avoid such a situation. If a student who is admitted in one degree programme is applying for a second degree programme simultaneously, s/he should be admitted in the second degree programme only if there are vacancies after admitting students who opted to do only one degree programme. HEIs need to ensure that applicants who are opting for only one degree programme are given preference and are not excluded from either of the two programmes as long as they are opting for only one programme. Alternatively, if infrastructure permits, some additional seats may be created for students opting for simultaneous degree programmes.
Can a student do two science degrees together in physical mode?
Theoretically yes, if the academic schedules do not clash. But the primary idea of this flexibility is not to do degrees in similar disciplines but to diversify their skills and knowledge by doing degrees simultaneously in divergent disciplines. For example, a bachelor’s student in Sanskrit may like to do a degree in data analytics or economics or a bachelor’s student in science may like to study computational linguistics.
Multi-disciplinarity is already there under a four-year undergraduate programme. Why then do two degree programmes?
We want to provide multiple pathways and flexibility to access multi-disciplinary education. Give the students multiple options and let them decide to pursue either FYUP or two degree programmes simultaneously, depending on their career goals.
Won’t it require more infrastructure and additional staff?
Since only the vacant seats are offered to the students to do a second degree in physical mode, the existing infrastructure and teaching staff should be sufficient. If an HEI is permitting their students to do a second degree in online/distance mode, the institution does not require additional infrastructure.
Will employers see value in two degrees obtained simultaneously?
A multi-disciplinary education is expected to provide these abilities to students. Students can choose their options to meet their aspirations and expectations of the employers.
Won’t the quality of education be compromised?
With the opportunity, there will be an increasing demand for online programmes for the second degree. That will eventually force the HEIs to offer only high-quality, more niche and affordable online courses.

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