Mumbai: Students at the University of Mumbai (MU) and its affiliated colleges can soon be able to simultaneously pursue another course at other universities in the country, and even abroad, as the varsity has adopted the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) new guidelines on dual degrees.
The guidelines, issued in April last year, provide for students to pursue two regular (physical mode) courses simultaneously provided there is no overlap in class timing of these programmes. Alternatively, they can pick one physical course and another distance learning or online course or two distance courses. This facility; however, isn't available to those pursuing PhD.
NEP's dual degree provision
The dual degree provision is part of the National Education Policy's (NEP) objectives to allow students to study multiple subjects in-depth and blur the boundaries between arts and science as well as vocational and academic streams.
MU currently allows students to take up two courses at the varsity-affiliated institutes, but there is no provision for students to be enrolled simultaneously at other varsities. A university official said that while many students are simultaneously pursuing a regular and a distance course, there aren’t many takers for two regular courses.
While MU’s academic council adopted these guidelines in September last year, they got the approval of the varsity’s management council in April this year. The decision was announced in a circular issued last week. However, this facility won’t be available to students until the next academic year 2024-25, as the state and the varsity are yet to frame rules for pursuing dual degrees.
“By adopting these guidelines the university has shown its willingness to allow its students to study at other varsities. However, the state needs to finalise the uniform modalities to implement the scheme across Maharashtra. The state’s steering committee for implementing NEP has already been working towards it and a framework will soon be released,” said MU Vice Chancellor Ravindra Kulkarni, who is also a member of the steering committee.
Maharashtra takes a lead
Maharashtra is among the states leading on the NEP front, as autonomous colleges, including 87 traditional and 51 engineering institutes, and postgraduation departments at universities have started adopting various provisions of the policy this academic year. The government has come up with illustrative course structures and curricular frameworks for traditional undergraduate and postgraduation programmes as well as engineering courses, opening up the possibility for studying subjects from across disciplines within a particular course.
However, some colleges remain apprehensive about dual degrees. “I don't think that it’s possible for students to do justice to multiple courses at the same time. The only way this can be useful is when students want to do an add-on vocational or skill enhancement course while doing a regular course,” said the principal of a college from Western suburbs.