Vagisha Kaushik|Dec 6, 2023
UGC revises norms, brings credit-based curriculum to instil values, work ethics in universities
UGC Guidelines: The university-level moral education curriculum includes lessons from Bhagvad Gita, Upanishads and encourages teaching of scriptures.
NEW DELHI: Rishi-parampara, Upanishadic wisdom, value lessons from Bhagvad Gita will soon become a part of credit-based university-level moral education curriculum.
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The University Grants Commission (UGC) last Friday wrote to universities to introduce a foundation course on human values and professional ethics at the undergraduate level besides an advanced course at postgraduate level.
Under the UGC’s new guidelines, Mulya Pravah- Inculcation of Human Values and Professional Ethics in Higher Education Institutions 2.0” universities are required to give out assignments and projects on human values, appoint a “value officer” each and also conduct a “ value audit” of human values and professional ethics.
In 2019, the UGC had developed the first set of guidelines which have been revised to include the key recommendations of the National Education Policy, NEP-2020. The objective, the document states, is to reinstate India’s rich cultural legacy, human values and constitutional values.
The new ethics course suggests training and workshops for students, an outreach program on human values and professional ethics along with active student participation in national programs such as Fit India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Sanrakshan Abhiyan. It also recommends engagement with non-profits and similar social organisations.
The guidelines further seek that ethical and human value thoughts and edifications should be displayed at public places and the same should also be placed in all official correspondence.
UGC’s ethics curriculum, credit system
The revised guidelines proposes the curriculum and pedagogy that inculcates deep respect towards fundamental duties and constitutional values among the students, bonding with one’s country, including universal human values of truth (satya), righteous conduct (dharma), peace (shanti), love (prema), non-violence (ahimsa), scientific temper, citizenship values, and also life-skills.
The document also includes an indicative curriculum with a unit on Indian ethos suggesting teaching and learning of Indian scriptures based on Indian Knowledge System, laws of Karma and Nishkarma (law of action and selfless action), five-hour yoga practice per week among others. The curriculum also includes units on constitutional values, global citizenship, values and skills for youth, integrated personality and well-being.
As per the suggested curriculum, one credit of tutorial work means one-hour engagement per week. In a semester, a one credit tutorial in a course is equivalent to 15 hours of engagement. In a semester of 15 weeks duration, a one credit practicum in a course is equivalent to 30 hours of engagement.
Classroom lectures, experiential and simulation activities and exercises, hands-on learning tasks and discussions are some of the suggested methods of pedagogy. In addition, students will be required to engage in community services or practice yoga, sports, music, arts and crafts for a minimum 15 hours. A one credit course in community engagement and services, and field work in a semester means two-hour engagement per week. The universities, however, are free to decide on course credits and distribution over six to eight semesters in a manner that will facilitate the students to meet the minimum credit requirements.
“This course on “Mulya Pravah” creates a new paradigm towards a just and equitable world for all. It draws upon the innate space of universal values within people (individuals and communities) to plan and implement strategic change and generate measurable results,” the guidelines further state.
Soon after UGC wrote to the universities, Academic for Action and Development Delhi Teachers’ Association (AADTA) raised questions over the “unilateral imposition” and “lack of intent” on the new UGC guidelines.
“ADTA takes strong exception to unilateral imposition of revised guidelines to accommodate NEP 2020 as issued by UGC on 12 May 2023 . As in the case of NEP , these guidelines are also big in talk, little in intent. Higher education flourishes the best when it is free from regimentation of exogenous ethics and code of conduct,” said Aditya Narayan Misra, national incharge of AADTA in an official statement.
The association further criticised the lack of clarity on monitoring of the institution's head like vice chancellor, principal, academic head and funds required for inviting experts for monitoring roles.
Seema Das, another member of the association said: “The guidelines talk about everything in words but how they will be quantitatively implemented is missing. Earlier also, there were continuous attempts to impose ESMA [Essential Services Maintenance Act] and Civil Services rules on the faculty, but AADTA strongly opposed it.”
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