New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has given its nod to a proposal that will now allow students to pursue two educational degrees at the same time, ThePrint has learnt.
The commission in its latest meeting approved simultaneous dual degrees for students in India, allowing students to complete courses in the same or different streams at the same time. One of the two degrees, however, has to be through regular mode and the other has to be through online distance learning (ODL).
Confirming the development, UGC secretary Rajnish Jain told ThePrint, “The dual degree programme in India, where students are allowed to obtain two degrees simultaneously has been approved by the commission in its latest meeting. A notification regarding the same will be issued soon.”
Indian higher education institutions currently offer integrated degrees like a B.Tech with MS, which combines undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and reduces the time duration for the course. A B.Tech + MS integrated degree for example is a five-year course, which would have taken six years if the programmes were pursued separately.
The dual-degree that the UGC has now approved will now allow, for example, an engineering student to simultaneously enroll in an economics or a psychology course or a literature student to pursue a political science course.
The finer details about eligibility are being worked out by the commission and will be released soon.
‘Decision taken after public opinion’
Explaining the decision further, UGC vice-chairman Bhushan Patwardhan told ThePrint that the commission had taken public opinion before giving a go ahead to the programme.
“We had asked for feedback from the public about the dual-degree programme and in their replies, people told us that they believe having a dual-degree programme was a forward-looking and a student-friendly idea. It would give more options to students in terms of career choices,” Patwardhan said.
He highlighted the only condition to pursuing dual degrees — one course has to be done through regular mode and the other one through distance mode.
“As per UGC regulations, minimum percentage of attendance is required for a student to attain a degree, which is why it is necessary that a student pursues one degree through regular mode and another one through distance learning,” he added.
Even as the commission claims that it has received positive feedback, some experts have apprehensions about the idea.
A former UGC chairperson told ThePrint that students may find it difficult to complete both courses at the same time.
“The idea of a dual degree is good because it will provide more employment opportunities to students but how many students will have the energy to take up two degree courses at the same time is a question,” the chairperson said.
“Even if one degree is through regular mode and another one is online, students are completing certain credits to get the degree. To juggle between two is going to be a task.”