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Extra time to finish course, recognising on-job training: What IGNOU degree for Agniveers offers

While 50% credits will come from their military training, the rest will be from university performance. Recruits unable to finish training may earn extra credits to get degree.

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New Delhi: The three-year undergraduate course offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to Agniveers — soldiers recruited under the Central government’s Agnipath scheme — will recognise both the skills attained by them in the army, navy and air force, and the education they receive at the university, IGNOU officials told ThePrint.

While 50 per cent weightage will be given to the skills they gain during their service years, 50 per cent of their graduation degrees will depend on their university performance, said officials, adding that education will be imparted to them in a blended learning mode.

Under this scheme, even if a recruit is unable to finish their military training and has to leave in the middle, they will still be able to get a degree from IGNOU, provided they gain additional credits from the university, the officials informed. The minimum duration of the course for Agniveers is three years, and maximum six years.

The ministry of education had announced last week that a new programme is being launched by IGNOU in line with the defence ministry’s Agnipath scheme, which will take in those between the ages of 17.5 and 21 years as soldiers for a period of four years. The upper age limit for the 2022 recruitments was later raised to 23 years.

Talking about IGNOU’s special course for Agniveers, Srikant Mohapatra, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor, told ThePrint that education will be imparted in online mode and reading material will be available through both online and offline means.

“The recruits will only be able to enroll for the programme when they are in service or have been selected as Agniveers, because our programme has been designed in a way that 50 per cent of the credits will come from the special training they receive with the forces,” he said.

Will follow National Education Policy 2020 guidelines

Mohapatra further informed that the rest of the credits will come from subjects like economics, history, political science, public administration, sociology, mathematics, education, commerce, tourism, vocational studies, agriculture and jyotish (astrology). Moreover, irrespective of the subjects the recruits choose for their studies, they will also be taught communication skills and environmental studies as extra skill-enhancement courses.

“In case they have to leave the services, they can still finish the degree with us by taking on extra credit work to finish a total of 120 credits required to get a degree,” he added.

Under the National Education Policy (NEP) launched by the government in 2020, a student needs to obtain 120 credits to get a graduation degree. As a part of this special programme, Agniveers will have to earn 20 credits each year for three years from the university, while the rest will be counted from their skill-based training from the forces.

The programme will follow the NEP guidelines and allow recruits to leave in the middle of the course. A one-year-course will get them a certificate, two years a diploma and three years a degree, which will be equivalent to any other regular graduation degree. After three years, an Agniveer will be awarded a general B.A. or B.Com degree. They can finish their degree within a maximum of six years.

Mohapatra further informed that IGNOU is now waiting for the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) to recognise the skill training these Agniveers will receive with the forces, so that they can accept them officially against credits.

“The skill-based training that the recruits receive will need to be recognised under the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) before we start accepting them,” he said.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: With Agnipath, Modi govt’s shock & awe doctrine may have misfired a vital reform, yet again


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