Mumbai: Engineering students in Maharashtra can now earn as much as a quarter of their course credits through elective subjects, including those belonging to their core discipline as well as those outside it. They will also be able to study additional 'minor' courses for extra credits, while being able to drop out of and re-join their four-year undergraduate programme at will.
These provisions, along with several others, are likely to feature in the new structure of engineering courses being prepared by the state as part of its National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 rollout. In keeping with NEP's objectives, the new structure aims at providing greater flexibility to students in choosing what they want to study while equipping them with relevant skills and experience for the job market.
The state has already come out with new NEP credit frameworks for traditional Arts, Science and Commerce programmes such as BA, BCom and BSC. However, this revised format will only be implemented in around 87 traditional autonomous colleges in the state in the current academic year. The new structure of technical courses will also likely be approved by the state soon, though it will only be followed by 50-odd autonomous engineering colleges for now.
On Friday, principals and teachers from autonomous engineering colleges, and members of the state's steering committee for implementing NEP, met in the city to set the ball rolling for the new policy. At this meeting, five sub-committees, appointed by the steering committee, proposed indicative curricular structures for five major branches of engineering education - Civil, Mechanical, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics.
According to these proposals, the engineering curriculum will be divided into a number of verticals including basic Science Courses, Engineering Science Courses, Programme Courses, Open Elective Courses, Vocational Courses, Humanities, Social Science and Management Courses and Experimental and Liberal Learning Courses.
The students are required to earn a minimum of 160 to 174 credits throughout the four-year programme, with around half the credits from their chosen subject stream. However, they can get anywhere between 18 to 35 credits from elective courses from their own specialisation, and another 10 to 12 credits from open elective courses outside their area of study. These elective courses can either be offered by their own college or a different institute or even online platforms.
In addition to mandatory coursework, the students can pursue one or two inter-disciplinary minor courses for an additional 18 to 22 credits per course. They can also get a degree with honours if they get these extra credits for studying additional courses within their specialisation.
The students exiting the course after first year will be awarded a UG certificate, while those completing two and three years will get a UG diploma and a Bachelor of Vocation (BVoc) degree, respectively. They can rejoin the course at their own institute or even some other college later by carrying their credits in the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC), an online repository of academic credits.