4-year UG programme rollout in Kerala: ABC to ensure mobility of students

Across India, close to 29.87 crore students in 1,989 higher edu institutions have come under Academic Bank of Credits framework
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) that enables students to deposit their credits earned for various courses in a centralised digital repository and redeem it in the same higher educational institution or another institution when required, is set to be a game changer in the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUGP) that colleges and universities in the state are set to roll out this year.

ABC has been envisaged in the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 to primarily facilitate the academic mobility of students, giving them the freedom to study across various higher educational institutions in the country. The credits earned by students will be deposited virtually in their ABC Academic Account maintained by the Union Education Ministry.

If the student moves to a different institution, the accumulated credits get transferred to the account of the new institution. Credits may be transferred from an institution to be accumulated in another programme offered by the same or another institution. Once the credit is redeemed for the award of the above, it would be irrevocably debited from the respective student’s Academic Account of ABC. Across India, close to 29.87 crore students in 1,989 higher educational institutions have already come under the ABC framework.

As per UGC regulations, ABC shall not accept any document pertaining to course credits directly from students and shall entertain such documents as valid only when the same are transmitted by the respective registered higher education institution awarding the credit.

Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) vice-chairman Rajan Gurukkal said all state universities in Kerala have already come on board the ABC framework. As per latest data, 62 higher educational institutions have on-boarded the ABC platform in the state. From 3.36 lakh in December 2023, the ABC IDs of students created from the state has increased to 4.40 lakh till May 2024.

“Once the credit data of the student is uploaded in the ABC academic account, the student can approach any university in the country for lateral entry for a particular course and earn a degree. Once the ABC framework is internationally recognised, it can even facilitate the seamless movement of students overseas,” Gurukkal said. Also, it would help students take a break from studies and rejoin the programme at a later stage by redeeming the credits accrued.

According to Gurukkal, universities will be prompted to strictly adhere to their academic calendar for conducting examinations and announcing results in a timely manner. “In case a student earns the required credits for award of degree, he can approach another university, redeem the credits and obtain the degree from that institution in case he feels the system there is more efficient,” Gurukkal said.

The ABC system enables students to select the best courses or combination of courses to suit their aptitude and also choose a pace for their studies. In addition to regular programmes, courses undergone by students through online modes through national schemes such as SWAYAM, NPTEL, V-Lab or of any specified university, shall also be considered for credit transfer and credit accumulation.

The UGC regulations on ABC lay down that it will be not limited to distance or a non-contact mode but shall extend to “amalgamation of various existing and futuristic teaching-learning models.” Notably, students will also have the freedom to take additional courses of their aptitude, beyond the curriculum prescribed for degree programmes, and add the credits in their respective Academic bank account.

Beneficial system

According to academicians, students can no longer be restricted by higher educational institutions from pursuing limited electives. The introduction of ABC has facilitated students to pursue diverse courses such as mathematics as major and music as minor from the same institution or different institutions.

“As per the UGC’s regulations, institutions coming on-board the ABC framework have automatically agreed to recognise and reward the credits transferred by students of other institutions. So students are less likely to face hardships in mobility,” said an official involved in preparation of FYUGP model curriculum of KSHEC.

Conditions of Academic Bank of Credits

While students are encouraged to choose among various courses offered by one or more of the ABC-registered higher education institutions, they are required to earn at least 50% of the credits from the higher education institution awarding the degree. Also, in terms of core subjects, the student will have to earn a certain number of credits specified by the degree-awarding higher education institution in which the student is enrolled. Credits earned by students shall be deposited in the respective Academic Bank Account with ABC and shall be valid for not exceeding seven years. Once any credit is redeemed for the award of degree, such credit shall be irrevocably debited from the respective student’s academic bank account.

ACADEMIC BANK OF CREDITS in Kerala

  • Total higher edu institutions onboard: 62

  • Autonomous colleges: 22

  • State universities: 15

  • Standalone institutes: 13

  • Central higher edu institutions: 5

  • Colleges: 3

  • Deemed-to-be universities: 3

  • Central universities: 1

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