UGC approves guidelines on short-term skill courses on yogic sciences, AI, ML, data science

UGC Guidelines: The courses will last 3-6 months and carry 12-30 credits. The UGC also proposes a centre for skill development courses.

Universities can offer three to six month long short-term certificate course on AI ML, data science, cybersecurity among others (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Universities can offer three to six month long short-term certificate course on AI ML, data science, cybersecurity among others (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

R. Radhika | December 7, 2023 | 04:22 PM IST

NEW DELHI: To integrate skilling into higher education, the University Grants Commission plans to introduce short-term industry-relevant courses for anyone who has passed the Class 12 exams.

The UGC approved the "Guidelines for the Introduction of Short-Term Skill Development Courses in Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs)" on Thursday. These allow students to pursue credit-linked short-term skill development certificate courses of three to six months.

As per the UGC guidelines, universities and college can collaborate with relevant skill councils and industry players to access placement opportunities, funding schemes, training and industry-aligned latest course content. The courses will run in a “self-sustainable mode” and universities are free to decide a policy accordingly.

The UGC guidelines have suggested short term courses on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. artificial intelligence and robotics, Internet of Things, data science, cloud computing, virtual reality, cyber security, 5G connectivity, industrial automation among others.

A course on “Yogic Sciences” is also one of the suggested programmes in the list of short-term certificate courses. The UGC plans to put a draft of the guidelines for public comment this week.

According to UGC chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar, a short-term skill development course in any stream will carry at least 12 credits and a maximum of 30 credits with a special focus on practical learning. Higher educational institutions can offer such courses with employment opportunities and internships for students who complete the course.

UGC certificate course structure, credits, fee

Each course offered by the university will have to be credit-linked in line with the National Credit Framework. A student can earn one credit for 15 hours dedicated to theory in a week and one credit for 30 hours of practical learning spread across a two week period.

According to the draft guidelines, a short-term skill development course in any stream shall be of at least 12 credits and a maximum of 30 credits. A maximum of 60 seats will be offered per course with a minimum student-faculty ratio of 1:30.

The curriculum, the draft document states, will be “a suitable mix of general and skill components” for each course. Universities can design the certificate course with up to 70% skill component. “The skill component will include practical classes in laboratories, workshops, industry premises and any other form of hands-on training with the catchment area of the HEI,” the document states.

Since obtaining an Academic Bank of Credit identification card has been made mandatory for admission to courses from 2023, students will be required to register on the ABC platform. Educational institutions can also decide the fee structure and fee refund policy of each course which must be posted on the official website.

Skill development centre

The UGC guidelines recommend setting up a centre for skill development courses from its own funds to arrange for the necessary infrastructure to run the courses. The centre will be responsible for maintaining a profile of local job opportunities, skill requirements for the local industry in the region and will provide data support for these courses.

The centre will be required to publish details of the courses like nomenclature, number of seats, admission criterion, course structure, fee structure, details of admitted students, certificates issued for each course, etc., on the university website as mandatory disclosure. Design, adoption and delivery of short-term courses will also be the responsibility of the centre.

In addition, the guidelines suggest constituting an advisory committee including the Vice Chancellor or principal along with experts from the industry, CEOs of awarding bodies and other members.

The performance of the centre will be audited every three years by an external committee constituted by the VC or the principal, the guidelines state.

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