Students can now pursue two degree courses at same time

StudentsUGC has finally given go-ahead to students to pursue two degree programmes simultaneously. (AP)

The University Grants Commission has finally given the go-ahead to students to pursue two degree programmes simultaneously.

Giving in to long-standing demands from universities and students, the apex higher education regulator, at a meeting on July 31, decided to accept its expert panel's recommendations on permitting pursuit of an additional degree programme.

This will allow students enrolled in a regular full-time degree programme to pursue one more additional degree programme simultaneously on open/distance learning mode from the same university or another institution. A student pursuing a regular degree will also be allowed to pursue an additional certificate/diploma/advanced diploma/PG diploma programme simultaneously either in regular or open/distance mode from the same university or another institution.

The UGC expert panel headed by Dr Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, had made these recommendations "in view of the changing scenario and flexible guidelines". Saying that "more choices to the students need to be given", the panel was of the view that joint degree programmes need to be encouraged by the UGC.

UGC Chairman Prof Ved Prakash said the idea was to allow new opportunities to students who wish to expand their skill set and have the will to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. Universities have been asked to modify their ordinances to facilitate the joint degree programmes.

Currently, no student in India can legally pursue more than one degree simultaneously either from the same institution or from any other institution. The restriction is applicable irrespective of the mode of pursuing degrees — open/distance learning/part-time/private or full time. To ensure compliance, students are required to submit in the original the migration certificate issued by the previous institute.

While there has been a lot of interest to pursue two or more degree programmes simultaneously to help students improve their knowledge, skill and employability, the present UGC guidelines are silent about the pursuit of a certificate/diploma course alongside a degree programme.

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