Hyderabad: In a significant decision, the University Grants Commission has limited the time to two years beyond the duration of a course during which students can complete their degree. This applies to graduate and postgraduate programmes.
The UGC deadline is an effort to bring uniformity across all institutions. However, the rules are said to be contradictory to the Choice Based Credit System, which allows mobility across courses.
Currently, universities have different time frames within which a programme can be completed. The BE course is for four years, but Osmania University allows students to complete it, by way of clearing all the papers, in eight years. Some universities allow seven years while others give students 10 years.
Based on the recommendations of a committee, the UGC has mandated: “A student who for whatever reasons is not able to complete the programme within the normal period or minimum duration prescribed, may be allowed two years period beyond the normal period to clear the backlog to be qualified for the degree.”
Another year can be granted only in exceptional situations. In case a student enters the two-year extra time, he or she will be considered as a private candidate. But experts point out that the new rules contradict the UGC’s own policies.
The UGC has been encouraging universities to to adopt the CBCS and skills framework but the rules imposing a time limit on the course duration is seen to restrict the mobility of students.
Prof A. Ravindranath, dean, UGC affairs, Osmania University, said, the CBCS provides vertical and horizontal mobility.
“At any point, a student can leave the programme and return to complete it later,” the dean pointed out.
“The UGC is asking universities to be flexible through the CBCS but on the other side it is curtailing mobility and restricting students,” Prof. Ravindranath said.