University campuses should be used for academic purposes and not for political agitations, vice-chairman of the University Grants Commission Bhushan Patwardhan said here on Wednesday.
“Universities should not be converted into battlegrounds for any reason or ideology. When students come to university campuses, they should restrict themselves to academics. They are free to do whatever they want to do as citizens outside. It is their individual right,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 33rd Biennial Conference of Home Science Association of India held at the Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women in the city.
“If students are given a better opportunity to connect with the community, they would be better placed and would not agitate. If students from urban areas stay with farmers for a month, they will never agitate,” Patwardhan said.
Speaking of new reforms in higher education, the academician said the UGC has finalised two new programmes in the idea-level National academic credit bank and semester outreach programme.
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The national academic credit bank will allow students to earn credits from any course at any university across the country or even abroad. “Universities should decide how many credits are needed for degree and how many of these credits need to be from that university to get the degree of that university. Students can earn the remaining credits from any course in institutions in the country or even abroad. There would be a mechanism to process the credits,” he said. “This would enable a multi-disciplinary approach and liberate students towards a multiple-entry multiple-exit process.”
The UGC would implement it in a pilot scale either with only postgraduate-level courses or with a new liberal education programme or selected universities.
Under the semester outreach programme, students will be sent outside the campus to get experiential learning from various sectors, such as banking, agriculture and community work. “While such activities are now being done as NCC and NSS programmes or as extra-curricular activities, we seek to make it a structured credit-based course,” Patwardhan said.
The UGC has formed teams to frame regulations for the programmes and it would be finalised in six months. “These programmes are challenging to construct and implement. But these will not be made compulsory.”
A one-month structured residential programme will be made mandatory for teachers. They should complete the course within six months of joining. UGC is also framing learning outcome-based curriculum for various verticals.
The three-day conference on ‘Trends for Futuristic Development in Home Science: Research and Innovation’ was inaugurated on Wednesday at the institute. As many as 200 faculty members and 400 students from various institutions across the country are attending the event.
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