The UGC has set up a panel to consider giving multiple degrees to students from the same university or from other universities. How will this pan out?
Many changes are being proposed to uplift the quality of Indian education. One such initiative being taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC), is to consider allowing students to opt for multiple degree courses simultaneously. A lot of deliberation took place earlier to consider this. However, it was rejected almost immediately. It has resurfaced again owing to the rapid change in technology as there is a demand for professionals who are multidisciplinary. This is leading to a vast majority of people wanting to pursue specialised courses besides their regular degree programmes. That is why the idea of giving multiple degrees is being reconsidered once again.
Today, job aspirants need to learn multiple skills within a short span. It is difficult to achieve this by joining a regular course that flows at its own pace. So, allowing a student to pursue multiple courses, simultaneously, through different modes (regular/online/distance/part time), can help make them future-ready. It will allow students to acquire knowledge and skill in related or unrelated areas, without spending extra years on studies.
Although the option to acquire specialised skills through online certifications from various platforms such as Udacity, Edx, Neptel, and so on, are also available to a student today, but these are not degree programmes. Hence, the deliberation of offering multiple degrees is a welcome move. A lot of caution needs to be exercised before allowing the students to obtain multiple degrees though. There should be some criteria of shortlisting the institutes which can be allowed to offer multiple degrees to students. The mushrooming of institutes without statutory approvals and requisite infrastructure and resources should not be allowed. We are a country where over 80% of engineering graduates are found unemployable every year. Such a move, without the right restrictions, may lead to unqualified students getting degrees for the sake of it, without enabling them to acquire the right knowledge and skills. Another important consideration in the implementation of this idea could be whether it should be allowed for every student irrespective of his or her calibre or to a select few. Students should be allowed to pursue multiple degrees from a single institute and in a limited set of disciplines, only if he/she clears a minimum eligibility criteria prescribed specifically to pursue two degrees simultaneously. Otherwise, many students will opt for this initially, but may end up losing out on both degrees due to excessive study load.
The recognition of the multiple degrees also needs to be ensured in the ecosystem. The main hurdle in this kind of a system will be the acceptability, not only by the industry but also in the government organisations where the rules need to be modified to allow these students to be eligible on the basis of any degree. If the implementation of this idea is executed in the right spirit and with caution, the ultimate gainer will be the student in particular, and industry in general, as it would lead to availability of highly trained and knowledgeable manpower in limited time.
The writer is Head of Division of Admissions at Lovely Professional University
Kritika Rathore, II, M.A. English literature, Presidency University, Kolkata
Multiple degrees help you stand out from the rest. It shows your specialisation and interests and gives you an upper hand in the job prospects. This decision by the UGC will be helpful for students who want to pursue other courses along with their formal degree . Having an additional degree will help students who lack real-world experience related to their field.
Preeti Shibu, Graduate (2018), B.Arch, School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai
Upon graduation, youngsters face a highly competitive job market. While pursuing two degree programmes might seem like a lot of effort, this will allow those with varying interests to be open to more potential career paths. Students would have to develop their organisation skills and this might be impressive to employees.
Prasanna Aditya A, II, BA (Hons.), II, Political Science, Hindu College, Delhi University, Delhi
One may be hard-pressed to come across a high school graduate these days, who is not passionate about more than one field of study. Students are in a quandary to choose from among disciplines for their college studies, all of which they hold dear. This move is laudable because while specialisation in a specific field of study is required, interdisciplinary pursuits are the order of the day. It expands students’ intellectual ambit, encouraging him/her to think out-of-the box. If put into action, it would foster a culture of interdisciplinary study and erudition in the Indian academic environment.
Philip K. Varghese, II, Mechatronics Engineering, BE, SNS College of Technology, Coimbatore
Pursuing multiple degrees can be challenging and takes a lot of effort and time investment. One should focus on one degree at a time as it can get strenuous and perhaps lead to confusion. On the other hand, it mostly depends on the ability of the student and his/her dedication towards learning more and pursuing multiple interests at the same time
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