NEW DELHI: The UGC has completed the National Higher Educational Qualification Framework (NHEQF), another regulatory reform envisaged by the National Education Policy.
The NHEQF aims to reform education from elementary to graduate school. The NHEQF will offer certificates, diplomas, and degrees to students who meet learning outcomes and academic criteria.
The statement argues that the framework will create a “nationally accepted, internationally comparable, and acceptable qualifications framework to facilitate transparency and comparability of higher education qualifications at all levels”.
Last February, the public commented on the NHEQF draught. The school, higher education, and skill development departments produced it. Thursday saw the final paper.
The framework has eight school levels. The first four levels are school, whereas the following four are higher education. NHEQF will cover the latter four levels, whereas NSEQF will cover the first four. The text indicates that the NHEQF develops, classifies, and recognises credentials from 4.5 to 8, including levels 1 to 4 in school education.
The NHEQF categorises qualifications using performance criteria. It lists certification categories, framework levels, and learning outcomes. Qualification types include certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s, master’s, and PhDs.
The NHEQF includes technical and vocational education and training and professional and technical education programmes, except medical and legal education, in one credential framework.
The text clarifies that it does not offer a unified curriculum or national common syllabus for a programme of study or a set of approaches to teaching-learning and student learning levels.
It will apply to all learning modes and provide comparability and transferability between universities and delivery modes.
The complexity of learning outcomes determines the six NHEQF levels. 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, and 8. Levels and higher education stages are shown below.
|Levels||Stages of higher education and learning outcomes||Credits|
|4.5||Undergraduate Certificate||40 credits|
|those who exit after the first year (2 semesters) of the|
|UG Course. (Course duration: First year or 2|
|semesters of the undergraduate Course)|
|5||Undergraduate Diploma (in the field of learning/discipline) for||80 credits|
|those who exit after the first two years (4 semesters) of the|
|undergraduate Course (Course duration: First two years|
|or 4 semesters of the undergraduate Course)|
|5.5||Bachelor’s Degree (examples: Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of||120 credits|
|Science; Bachelor of Commerce; Bachelor of Physical|
|Education; Bachelor of Business Administration, etc.|
|(Course duration: Three years or 6 semesters)|
|6||B.A., B.Ed.; B.Sc., B.Ed.; B.Com., B.Ed. (4-year dual-degree||160 credits|
|Integrated Teacher Education Course). Plus Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.); Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.)|
|6.5||Master’s degree. (e.g. M.A.; M.Com., M.Sc.; etc.) (Course||80 credits|
|duration: Two years or four semesters after obtaining a 3-year|
|7||Master’s degree (e.g. M.E.; M.Tech. etc.) (Course||80 credits|
|duration: Two years or four semesters after obtaining a|
|Bachelor’s degree (e.g. B.E., B.Tech.etc.).|
|8||Doctoral degree||Credits for course , a thesis and published work|
The NHEQF levels 4.5 and 8 represent learning outcomes suited to the first year (first two semesters) of the undergraduate curriculum and the doctorate programme, respectively.
Bachelor’s degree levels 5.5 to 6 cover the first three years of a four-year undergraduate study, followed by the fourth year with eight semesters.
Similarly, level 6.5 encompasses a two-year master’s degree curriculum following the completion of a three-year bachelor’s degree and a one-year master’s degree programme following the completion of a four-year undergraduate programme with research honours.
Level 7 covers a master’s in engineering and an M.Tech after a four-year BTech. Level 8 involves doctoral studies.
The framework offers many learning level “descriptors” or metrics to assess students at every level. Generic learning outcomes, constitutional, ethical, and moral principles, employment-ready skills, entrepreneurial attitude, and knowledge and skill application are among these parameters.
How exactly does the credit system work within the NHEQF?
A student’s overall performance in their academic work is rated on a scale called credits. Each credit represents one unit of evaluation. For instance, a three-credit lecture course in a semester requires three one-hour lectures per week, each worth one credit.
Additionally, “one credit” from supplementary academic work like seminars, internships, studio activities, field projects, or community participation and service requires two hours each week. In a 15-week semester, one credit in these courses requires 30 hours of work.
Students must gain 160 credits at levels 4.5, 5, 5.5, and 6 of the NHEQF to complete a four-year undergraduate curriculum.
In addition, pupils are given the opportunity to enter and leave each level many times. For example, to graduate from the undergraduate programme with a certificate requires 40 credits; a diploma after two years requires 80 credits; a degree after three years requires 120 credits; and a degree with honours or research after four years requires 160 credits. Students must have a three-year bachelor’s degree with at least 40 credits to pursue a one-year postgraduate diploma.
Internships, studio activities, field work, community participation, and similar duties require two hours per week.