Post UGC’s draft guidelines universities gear up for multidisciplinary courses

Post UGC’s draft guidelines universities gear up for multidisciplinary courses

The University Grants Commission (UGC) recently released a draft guideline calling for a transformation of higher education institutions into multidisciplinary universities. This comes two years post the government’s roll out of National Education Policy (NEP) which emphasised on multidisciplinarity course work. “Academic Bank of Credits is a very interesting initiative of NEP 2020 which will enable students to enhance mobility and accessibility. We are also planning to tie up with the Academic Bank of Credits, and will sign the MoU to be a part of that, which is already in process,” Kartik Dave, dean of public policy and social entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University, said. Ambedkar University claims that through the Academic Bank of Credit, underprivileged students are being given a chance to upskill themselves.  

For Manoj K Arora, vice-chancellor, BML Munjal University it practices interdisciplinary learning and research by inducting multi-disciplinary faculty, designing interdisciplinary courses and programmes, co teaching of an interdisciplinary course by faculty from different disciplines, practitioners from industries and corporates under a fractal credit system.

Even as most institutions have already geared themselves towards adopting a holistic approach towards education, at the state level there are many universities which are still in the process of bringing about changes. The multidisciplinary nature of education enables students to explore and learn from a range of disciplines from different universities besides pursuing multiple degrees from other institutions. It aims to enhance students’ mobility and flexibility of education. “An innovative education scenario will require appropriate adjustment in terms of  funds and recruitments to provide a flexible and easy ecosystem for the students,” said Rakesh Chandra, professor, dean academics and head of philosophy, University of Lucknow. 

With the transformation of academic domains, careers have also evolved. Infact, demand for multidisciplinary knowledge is evident in hiring policies of major organisations. “Most of the IITs are already working much ahead of the guidelines. At IIT Gandhinagar, the theme of multidisciplinarity is inbuilt in the ethos anyway and the design of the courses acknowledges that the boundaries within the disciplines are no longer finite. They all are merging,” Kabeer Jasuja, professor, IIT Gandhinagar. The institute claims that a large fraction of the multidisciplinary courses offered at the institute is managed by collaboration within the disciplines of the institutions. For instance, it’s collaboration with Japan’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology allows students to pursue two M Tech degrees simultaneously.   

Educators opine that interdisciplinary education will help in providing a global perspective to students, which thereby will help in creating well-grounded personalities.