30 crore Indian students to be under a unified credit system

NEW DELHI: Now even school students will earn credits during their school education including for activities such as celebration of festivals in institutes, class tests and school cleaning. And these credits will be stored in the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) just like in higher education. Creating a one of its kind next generation global instrument and bringing the entire 30 crore Indian students population under a unified credit system from across pre-school, school, higher and vocational education, the government is planning to introduce National Credit Framework (NCrF) to align the education system emphasising that there should be no hard separation among curricular and extracurricular or co-curricular or between vocational or academic streams.
Taking the high-level inter-ministerial committee report on NCrF as the basis, the ministry of education (MoE) has started a national level public consultation on Wednesday on the same. The framework aims to formulate a unified credit accumulation and transfer for general and vocational education and from school to higher education.
As envisaged in the National Education Policy 2020 to make education more holistic and effective with an emphasis on the integration of general (academic) education, vocational education and experiential learning, it becomes imperative to establish and formalize a national credit accumulation and transfer system.
The NCrF provides for creditisation of all learning and assignment, accumulation, storage, transfer and redemption of credits, subject to assessment. According to the “Report of the High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee on National Credit Accumulation and Transfer Framework” led by Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, chairperson, National Council for Vocational Education and Training, while a student can earn up to 40 credits for learning up to 1200 hours per year, for pre-school up to Class V the learning hours range from 800 to 1000 hours. Doing away with hard separation between different areas of learning, ie arts and sciences, vocational and academic streams, curricular and extra-curricular for the purpose of assignment of credits and credit levels, the assignment of credits is independent of the streams, subjects or any learning subject to assessment.
Announcing the public consultation on the NCrF, union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “The credit was elite so far. Now somebody working in the farms who has studied up to class VI will get credit for his experience, system in place for the accreditation and evaluation. After earning credits for four years, he or she will be able to appear for class X through NIOS after achieving a minimum qualification competency level. The candidate’s knowledge, experience and competency assessment will help him to appear for the exam after two years and then do a polytechnic diploma or further degrees.”
“The student registration will be Aadhar enabled and each candidate will get an academic bank account number where degrees and credits will keep getting deposited. The digi locker will turn into a knowledge locker,” the minister added.
“Now credits will be available in school education and skill education. The NCrF is the foundation in which we will have three verticals synchronized – school education framework, skill education framework and higher education framework. This will provide better mobility to the students from one level to another and between institutions. This is one integrated system with diversity and flexibility,” said M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson UGC.
The report stated that, “Accordingly, the learning shall not be limited to only instructional hours but also encompass all other activities in the educational institutions, earlier categorised as curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular.”
The NCrF has been jointly developed by University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, NCVET, National Institute of Open Schooling, CBSE, NCERT, MoE, directorate general of training, and ministry of skill development.
The NCrF credit levels for school education are up to level 4, while for higher education from Level 4.5. to level 8 (undergraduate levels 4.5, 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0, postgraduate levels 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0, and PhD level 8) and for vocational education and training level 1 to level 8.
“The credit points may be redeemed as per the guidelines of ABC for entry or admission in school, higher, technical or vocational education programs/ courses at multiple levels enabling horizontal and vertical mobility with various lateral entry options,” said the report.
“The goal is that every student right from schooling will have their credits stored in ABC. The progression from one level to the next is based on well-defined learning outcomes,” said Kumar, adding, “This credit system provides several advantages to the students. Credits can be used for multi entry multi exit at different levels. Credits can be accumulated over a period of time to earn qualifications. Because all three systems are integrated on a common credit framework, students will have enhanced flexibility and mobility.”