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Draft National Credit Framework

Focus: GS II: Education

Why in News?

Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, participated in the stakeholders’ consultation on draft National Credit Framework (NCrF) at IIT Delhi. 

What are ‘credits’ in the education system?

  • Credits are essentially a “recognition that a learner has completed a prior course of learning, corresponding to a qualification at a given level”, according to the draft document.
  • In other words, it is a way of quantifying learning outcomes.

How does the credit system work?

  • Take for example the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) followed by many universities in India.
  • Under the CBCS, students need to earn a certain number of credits for completing a degree.
  • While doing so, it offers them the opportunity to mix and match a wide variety of courses, enabling interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary education.
  • This is not possible under the conventional marks or percentage-based evaluation system.
  • At a time the University Grants Commission (UGC) is encouraging provisions such as the four-year undergraduate programme with multiple entry and exit options, a credit-based approach has become imperative.
  • Simply put, it offers flexibility in choosing courses, the option to change courses or institutions midway, or to reenter the education system after dropping out without losing years.
  • The students can digitally deposit their credits in the Academic Bank of Credits or ABC, which in many ways works like a commercial bank, and redeem them whenever required.
  • According to the University Grants Commission (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank Of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations notified in July, 2021, the credits shall remain valid for a maximum duration of seven years.

What are credit frameworks?

  • Credit frameworks are guidelines to be followed by schools, colleges and universities in adopting the credit system.
  • For example, the National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) lays out the guidelines for higher educational institutions that want to implement the credit system.
How is the NCrF different from the existing frameworks?
  • The proposed NCrF seeks to integrate all the frameworks under one umbrella.
  • Moreover, it also brings the entire school education system under the ambit of credits for the first time. So far, only the National Institute of Open Schooling followed a credit system. The NCrF also covers skill and vocational education.

What are the highlights of the NCrF?

  • The biggest change that the NCrF, once implemented, will usher in is in the school education sector.
  • All the provisions of the credit system will also be available to school students.
  • It will remove the need for equivalence certification for academic programmes that meet the NCrF requirements and facilitate transfer of students between schools and boards.
  • NCrF addresses the difficulties students are facing in respect of equivalence of certificates issued by various school education boards in India for the purpose of admissions in higher education institutions and employment in Central/State Government.
  • A student shall have to earn at least 40 credits for completing a year of school education after putting in 1200 hours of “notional learning hours”.
Notional learning hours:
  • Notion learning hours in the context of NCRF means time spent not just in classroom teaching, but also in a range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
  • The list of such activities include sports, yoga, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on the job training, internships or apprenticeships.

How will the credit points be obtained?

  • For the purpose of calculation, the NCrF has divided the education system into multiple levels.
  • For school education, there are four levels.
  • Students clearing class XII will be at credit level 4.
  • For higher education, the levels are from 4.5 to 8 — which is basically from first year UG to PhD.
  • The total credit points earned by the student will be obtained by multiplying the credits earned by them with the NCrF level at which the credits have been earned.

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December 2022
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