If India is to reap a rich demographic dividend its substantial youth population promises, a crying need is to tailor higher education as per the job market’s needs. Therefore, the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) decision to implement the semester system and credit-based grading in graduate and post-graduate courses in all universities recognised by it is a progressive one. The regulatory body has asked varsities to adopt a choice-based credit system (CBCS) and a credit framework for skill development (CFSD).
Under the CBCS, students can take their pick of subjects under three heads—foundation courses (FC), electives and core subjects. In the FC fold, some subjects will be compulsory across disciplines and are intended to give a standard academic base to all students, and some will be electives. The strongest element of the new design is perhaps the FCs. These are likely to increase employability in certain disciplines—for example, graduates in liberal arts having a level of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) competence does increase their chances of finding employment—while inducing a multi-disciplinary perspective in others. Above all, the new system will give the students the flexibility to configure their programmes as per their interests. As per the CFSD, the credit-based grading system is in keeping with the international methods of assessment of performance. The semester system, along with the CFSD, makes shifting across varsities seamless.