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Need to Develop Uniform Credit System

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Submitted By pbvidyasagar
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November 12, 2010.
NEED TO DEVELOP UNIFORM CREDIT TRANSFER SYSTEM
Dr. Pandit Vidyasagar.

The changing paradigm in higher education at global level has brought forward issues which need to be addressed at national level. One of such issues is introduction of credit system at under-graduate & post-graduate level. In India, at present the situation that exists is complex in nature. Though U.G.C. (University Grants Commission) has issued guidelines that the credit system be adopted at all levels of higher education, the actual implementation has not been done. At many universities the annual system is still in practice. Though some of the universities have adopted semester system at under-graduate & post-graduate level, very few universities have implemented credit system and that also, mostly at the post-graduate level. In this scenario the students who wish to join other universities during their studies at under-graduate level or after completion of graduation face many hurdles. This is mostly because there is no accepted system for assigning proper credits for the studies undertaken and to establish the equivalence. In fact, there is no change in attitude of the teacher and academic administrators to accept the credit system. European nations have realized these problems years before and have successfully tried to develop European Credit Transfer System(ECTS). This system is operational at present and has facilitated the movement of the students among different universities. This has also helped to establish twining programmes and establishment of dual degrees. The term abroad programme has gained the popularity in recent years. In India the universities like Pune University has initiated the term abroad programme. At present students from engineering, arts & science participate in term abroad programme in the countries such as Canada, Germany, France etc. On the other hand students from 12 different universities from Canada and some universities from France & Germany offer some courses or full term at Pune University. The credit transfer for such students is being worked out on individual basis. However, a need to evolve an uniform credit transfer system which can be used for the transfer of credits among Indian Universities and among Indian & Foreign University exists. U.G.C. with the initiative from Dr. Sukhdev Thorat, Chairman, UGC has constituted a Committee under my chairmanship to establish a model for equivalence, assessment and transfer of credits. The Committee undertook involved and challenging task and has submitted an interim report to the UGC. The final report will be submitted with a month’s period. The Committee has studied the existing educational pattern in different Indian Universities at under-graduate & post-graduate level. It shows that Indian Universities conducts certificate, diploma & degree courses at various levels. At present mostly annual and semester pattern is followed. Another important point to be noted is that the workload calculated is teacher centric. Unfortunately, the workload is linked to the number of teaching positions in a particular college or university. The time spent by the student for homework, seminar, field-work, workshop, home assignments, project work, industrial visits, self studies etc. is not taken into consideration. As a result it appears that a student in India spends less amount of time in completing a particular course as compared to their counterparts in foreign countries. However, a careful analysis shows that the amount of time spent by an Indian student in completing a course is more or less equal to the counterparts in foreign countries. The following example shows how credits can be assigned to existing degree course at post-graduate level.
Name of the faculty : Science Name of the Examination : M.Sc. Physics | | First Year | Second Year | Third Year | Fourth Year | Fifth Year | 01 | No. of Compulsory Papers | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.1-05Sem.II-05 | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.III-05Sem.IV-05 | | | | 02 | No. of Optional Papers | ------------------------------------------------- | ------------------------------------------------- | | | | 03 | Total No. of Papers | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.1-05Sem.II-05 | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.III-05Sem.IV-05 | | | | 04 | Examination out of Marks | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.1-500Sem.II-500 | -------------------------------------------------
Sem.III-500Sem.IV-500 | | | |
Assumptions: (01) hour lecture per week/credit, (02) Teaching for 15 weeks/semester or term. * Total hours of class room teaching – 5sub x 5cl = 25CL/week x 15 weeks = 375 terms = 750/yr. * Additional hours expected for tutorial homework, seminar, field-work, participation in seminar/workshop etc., home assignment, project work, industrial visit, any other academic work, self study and evaluation/examination – 1 hr for each Cl = 750 * Total hours : 1500
Equivalent credit : per year - 50 Per semester - 25 For total period of degree/diploma/certificate – 100
This and similar exercises would clearly show that the credit equivalence for any course run by an Indian University can be obtained.
The model also proposes a checklist for deciding the equivalence for studies undertaken by the students at their parent university/institute which is as follows – 1) The level on which the transfer is being made. 2) Whether the transfer is for Degree, Diploma or Certificate ? 3) Faculty to which the particular program belongs ? 4) The subject for which the student has been rnrolled. 5) Which pattern is being followed – Annual/semester. 6) Which system is being followed for evaluation – course system / credit system ? 7) For what purpose the equivalence is sought ? 8) Whether the level of the course being compared is same which is to be decided taking into consideration the course content and the level ? 9) How many marks / grades have been allocated for course / module ? 10) Total hours a student works for the course/module
This includes tutorial, homework, seminar, field work, participation in seminar/workshop etc., home assignment, project work, industrial visit, any other academic work, self study and evaluation/examination.

A] Method to calculate Grade point Average B] Whether the condition of allowed to keep terms has been applied? C] Decision – (i) Total equivalence awarded (ii) Partial equivalence is awarded (iii) Any course work is exempted for the further studies. (iv) Additional course work is suggested (v) The transfer of Credit / Courses with grade points / marks is to be completed.
The faculties under which courses are conducted include - 1. Faculty of Arts and Fine Arts 2. Mental Moral and Social Sciences 3. Faculty of Science 4. Faculty of Law 5. Faculty of Medicine 6. Faculty of Engineering 7. Faculty of Ayurved 8. Faculty of Commerce 9. Faculty of Education 10. Faculty of Pharmacy 11. Faculty of Management 12. Faculty of Homeopathy 13. Faculty of Physical Education
This may not be an exhaustive list.
The main hurdle in implementation of credit transfer is the terms used in credit system. Many academic administrator and teachers may not be familiar with these terms.
Some important terms which are the past of the credit system include –
Module –
A Module is defined as a quantum of syllabus to which a certain number of credits are assigned. Module divides the curriculum into logical and distinct component. A Module should be such that continuity of the topic is not lost. The Module should not be too big or too small. Ideally a module should be equivalent to two to four credit.
Credit –
Credit is quite simply a means of attaching relative values to the different components of a course. Credits are the currency of learning.
Credits account for the learning achieved and is estimated by the amount of time required by an average learner at a particular level to achieve the outcomes. Credit is also defined as a measure of the time typically required to complete a Module successfully.
Unit –
It is a component in which a Module is sub divided assigning a credits in integer form.
Course –
Course is a part of curriculum which is to be completed in a semester / year to which certain marks are assigned. This type of division is used in an annual and the semester system. In cse of credit system such type of division is in the form of a module.
Grading System –
This is a system where credits are assigned as a part of evaluation in place of marks. Usually Ten point grade system is used. Typical Grade point systems can be as follows –
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grade Points Description of performance ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A 10 Outstanding A(-) 9 Excellent B 8 Very Good B(-) 7 Good C 6 Average C(-) 5 Below Average D 4 Marginal E 2 Poor F 0 Very Poor I - Incomplete NP - Audit Pass NF - Audit Fail W - Withdrawal X - Continued S - Satisfactory completion Z - Course continuation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elective Course – A course(s) which is optional and from which student can choose a specific number of courses as prescribed by the respective University / Institution / Department. Earned Credits – These are the credit which students earn after evaluation/assessment. Integrated Course – A course that ends with one or more degreed and begins at any level after XIIth. Twining Programme – In this programme a student spends learning time at two different Universities or Institutions. Under these programmes a student obtains certain number of credits in a semester from Institution or even completes a full semester in the Institution other than parent Institute. Dual Degree Programme – A programme in which student obtains credits from different Universities and these credits are recognized by both. However, degree is offered by either of the Universities / Institutions. However, his learning at the other institution is duly recognized by either giving joint degree or a certificated Equivalence – Equivalence is a parity for modules/courses or semester(s). Transfer of Credits – It is process by which the credits earned by a student at one university are transferred to other University / Institution for obtaining particular Degree/Diploma/Certificate from that Institution. Project work – A student works on a certain topic which includes collection of information, experiments, computation and theoretical analysis either two or more of these components. This can be of the duration up to one month. Field Work – A student undertakes a work which includes collection of samples measurements carried out in the field or similar type of work outside Institution. Self study – A student spends time in studying a topic or a subject on his own.

Tutorial – A Class engaged by a teacher where the numerical/derivations related to a particular topic are discussed with an active participation of the students and/or discussion/clarification of concept is undertaken. Overlapping Course – A course which has more than 50% identical contents and which is designed to develop similar type of skills can be considered as an overlapping course. Equivalent Course – A course which aims at giving the same information, depth, complexity, concepts and develops similar skills is called Equivalent course. The content may not match 100%. However, the objectives of the course would be the same. Departmental course – A course conducted by a department in a particular faculty and is not common to all the students of a particular faculty. It is essential that the definitions of these terms are made available. Any misunderstanding that would prevail in the minds of concerned would make the process complicated. In order to facilitate the transfer of credit system in India it is necessary that all university adopt credit system at under graduate and post-graduate level. This is a long term goal and would be implemented in a phased manner. It is heartening that many universities are introducing choice based credit system at post-graduate level. Some of the universities have introduced this system at under graduate and post-graduate level also. However, there are many hurdles in implementation of the credit system. The most important hurdle is the attitude of the government and the academic administrator in most of the states. The funds allocation depends on the teaching posts sanctioned at various university departments and colleges based on the work load for the teachers and number of students admitted to a particular course. If credit system is implemented there is a fear that government will have to provide more teaching posts and would escalate the funding. However, this fear is unfounded. If credit system is implemented with inherent flexibility given to the university to reallocate the teaching posts as per the requirement the budget would not escalate. Another major hurdle is examination pattern followed by most of the universities. If the examinations are centralized the introduction of the credit system may increase the number of days required for the examination. Also it may require more number of staff for conducting the examination. However, if online pattern is introduced and adequate flexibility is adopted by giving authority to the colleges and teachers to conduct examination, this problem can be successfully tackled. In my opinion what really required is the change in attitude at all levels starting from students, teachers, parents, academic administrator, bureaucratic and policy makers at the state and national level. If this is done the credit system can be successfully implemented in all universities in India and efforts to transfer the credit among Indian universities and among Indian & Foreign universities would be minimum.

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