News: Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a Draft National Higher Educational Qualification Framework (NHEQF) as a part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to assess students at different levels. The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. Given the size of the higher education system and the diversity of institutions and programmes of study in India, the country needs to move towards developing a nationally accepted and internationally comparable and acceptable qualifications framework to facilitate transparency and comparability of higher education qualifications at all levels.
- India recognized the need for NQF both for general education and for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The Ministry of Labour and Employment developed the National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (renamed as Ministry of Education, after NEP 2020 recommendations) developed the Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF).
- These two frameworks were considered and used while developing the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) notified in 2013.
What is Draft NHEQF?
- The framework is not intended to promote a uniform curriculum or national common syllabus. The purpose is to bring up/elevate all HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) to a common level of benchmarking to ensure that all institutions are providing quality education. The draft framework has outlined several learning level “descriptors” or parameters based on which students can be assessed at every level.
- These parameters include generic learning outcomes, constitutional, ethical, and moral values, employment ready skills, entrepreneurship mindset, and application of knowledge and skills among others.
- The NHEQF has divided parameters into levels 5 to 10. Levels 1 to 4 cover the school education.
- The NHEQF level 5 represents learning outcomes appropriate to the first year (first two semesters) of the undergraduate programme of study, while Level 10 represents learning outcomes appropriate to the doctoral-level programme of study. The NHEQF envisages that students on completion of a programme of study must possess and demonstrate the expected graduate profile/attributes acquired.
- It also fixes the number of credits required to clear the different levels of the four-year undergraduate programme, postgraduate degrees and doctoral degrees. The NEP 2020 allows multiple entry and exits at the undergraduate level. It effectively means that students can exit after completing one year of undergraduate programme with a certificate, after two years with a diploma, after three years with a bachelor’s degree, or can complete four years and get an honours degree with a honours/research degree.
- A credit is a unit by which the coursework is measured.