A month after the University Grants Commission (UGC) said that students pursuing vocational subjects in class XII could be at a disadvantageous position while seeking admission to undergraduate (UG) programmes, and that colleges should give equal weightage to such subjects, two colleges in Mumbai and four all across the state are set to start bachelor of vocational education for the first time.
While St Xavier’s College will start two UG programmes on tourism and software development, Ruia College has been given permission to start two courses on greenhouse management, and tourism and travel management. The UGC has approved a grant of Rs 185 lakh to each college.
“These are job-oriented courses and every course has an intake capacity of around 30. Those who want to study the course for a year will get a certificate, those who want to exit after two years will get a diploma, and those who complete three years will get a degree. Hence, it offers flexibility and students can chose the duration depending on their interest and capability. Further, students who are pursuing a different UG programme can also study this simultaneously. As UGC will support the programme financially for the first five years, the fee structure will be minimum,” said Ruia College principal Suhas Pednekar.
The Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, had notified ‘National Skill Qualification Framework (NSFQ), which incorporated key elements of the National Vocational Educational Framework (NVEQF) formulated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Subsequently, after the NVEQF started in 2012, some of the school boards offered courses to students and they are being awarded equivalent certificate under the project.
UGC wrote to vice chancellors of all universities, which said such students will pass out from Class XII certified with NSQF level four in 2014. “The MHRD has expressed concern that such students having vocational subjects at their class 12 level may be put to a disadvantageous position while they seek admission to any UG programme. Therefore (you are) requested that such subjects be given weightage equivalent to any other general education subject while considering the admission of students to UG courses so that the students get opportunity for vertical mobility,” said the letter.
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Two other colleges in Maharashtra that will start such a UG programme are VMV Commerce, JMT Arts and JJP Science College in Nagpur (theatre and stage craft, and acting) and PES Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Ganeshkhind, Pune (food processing technology and green house technology).