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Special Content


Issue no 04, 22-28 April 2023

National Credit Framework:

A Milestone Initiative to Transform Indian Education System

 

Dr. Rajesh Kumar & Sameera Bhoi

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has envisioned a comprehensive policy framework in the 21st Century with an aim to transform the Indian education system as a Global Knowledge Hub. The recently unveiled National Credit Framework (NCrF) shall be a milestone initiative to integrate academic instruction with professional skills in the country. It will act as a comprehensive credit framework for the school, higher, vocational, distance, and blended education system. It will fulfil the goals of a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, integration of academic and vocational education, vertical and horizontal mobility, strengthening indigenous knowledge systems, and promoting the internationalisation of education.The aim of this initiative is to revitalise the Indian education system by providing pedagogically innovative combinations and giving enough room for multiple entries and exits for learners. This holistic credit framework is a joint initiative by a high-level committee of the University Grants Commission (UGC), All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE), National Council of Vocational Education and Training (NCVET), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Department of School Education & Learning and Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education (MoE), Directorate General of Training (DGT) and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Govt. of India.

NCrF is multidisciplinary framework across sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, extra-curricular activities etc. under the banner of National Education Policy 2020. Remarkably this initiative gives equal weightage to curricular, co-curricular, and vocational education bridging the gaps between the three. It emphasises imaginative and need-based curricular structures that allow a learner to choose creative combinations of subjects such as science and engineering with social sciences, arts, humanities, languages, and other vocational skills. The entire approach is focused on inculcating intellect, aesthetics, morality, duties, responsibilities, values, and norms among learners in an integrated manner. The NCrF has devised a mechanism to assign credit value to academic and vocational courses, to identify the ways of credit accumulation and storage through the credit bank, to propose credit transfer models, and to establish academic equivalence between general and vocational education at all levels. The entire framework has been preparedto operationalise credits, which is broadly associated with the designing and development of curricular structure, courses, pedagogy, learning resources, nomenclature, academic qualification, planning, and delivery of education/training/skills through various modes of teaching and learning, co-curricular and extracurricular activities and learning outcomes, etc. The major takeaways of the National Credit Framework are:

Inclusive and Umbrella Credit Framework: The NCrF is an inclusive and comprehensive credit framework that integrates elementary, school, vocational, higher, distance, and blended education systems. It also recognises experiential learning and skills acquired through professional levels over the years. It is a unified structure, which would act as a Mother Credit Framework for all levels of education. And the entire structure will ensure academic equivalence of vocational education and skilling programs. It is pertinent to mention that the credit mechanism in the Indian education system has been in discourse for the last one decade with experimentation at various levels such as school and higher education from time to time. In school system, the National Institute of Open School (NIOS) follows the credit system, whereas in higher education system, Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) was introduced by University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Education, Govt. of India that has been implemented in various universities across the country.

Further, Skill Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India in November 2014 in order to prepare a credit framework for skill-based vocational courses. Thereafter, UGC came up with broad guidelines for providing skill-based education under National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Autonomous institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) have been adopting their unique and rigorous credit system, which is based on a semester-based credit system with continuous assessment of learners. There was a need for a uniform credit-assigning mechanism to integrate all types of education in the country to fine-tune with international standards. In this regard, National Credit Framework has unveiled a systemic credit structure that is going to be operationalised in the near future across the country. Here, it is important to understand various aspects of NCrF:

Credit System: It is an organised way to assign credits to the learner based on courses and learning outcomes. In other words, the credit system focused on teaching, learning, and outcome within prescribed contact hours which leads to a qualification. To further simplify we can say, credit is a method of measuring the number of hours of instruction and learning that a learner has completed for a course, which may be done through various ways such as lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, assignments, selfstudy materials, and e-learning, etc

Notional Learning Hours (NLH): After due consultation with concerned stakeholders, National Credit Framework has prescribed that the total Notional Learning Hours for assigning credits across school, higher and vocational education & training/skilling shall be 1200 hours per year (except for preschool up to grade fifth wherein the learning hours will range from 800 to 1000 Hours). Here, Notional Learning Hours are the contact hours which are not only associated with classroom teachinglearning but also co-curricular and extracurricular activities, which includes sports, music and performing arts, yoga, social work, NCC, training, internship, and apprenticeship etc.

Credit

Notional Learning Hours (NLH)

Semester/Year

1 Credit

30 Notional Learning Hours

 

20 Credits

20 Credits x 30 NLH = 600 NLH

One Semester (Six Months)

40 Credits

40 Credits x 30 NLH = 1200 NLH

Two Semesters (One Year)

Source: Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, 2022

 

The calculation of a credit is based on 30 Notional Learning Hours. It means a learner will be awarded 40 credits in a year after completion of (40 Credits x 30 Hours) 1200 Notional Learning Hours, whereas 20 credits will be awarded in a semester (six months) with (20 Credits x 30 Hours) 600 Notional Learning Hours. In case, a learner is desired to take additional courses/programs/subjects/projects beyond 40 credits, s/he may get additional credits as per norms.

Credit Levels: National Credit Framework has devised a mechanism to align with the best practices in the international scenario and has proposed uniform credit level from 1 to 8 for all types of education (academic and vocational education) in India. The structure of credit level is as follows:

Academic Education

Level

Grade/Class

School Education up to Grade XII

Level 1 to 4

(Foundational+Preparatory+Secondary+ Senior Secondary)

Higher Education

Level 4.5 to 8

(Undergraduate+Postgraduate+Doctoral)

Vocational Education

Training/Skilling

Level 1

Level 8

(Lowest Level)

(Highest Level)

Source: Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, 2022

 

Flexibility and Mobility Mechanism: NCrF enables students to choose their career path in a flexible manner by selecting courses as per their choice. Flexibility and mobility through multiple entry-exit is one of the most important aspects that empowers a learner to deal with mid-career crisis and empowers them for lifelong learning. It allows them to enter and exit at multiple levels during educational journey and accordingly academic qualification may be acquired with prescribed credits. The multiple entry-exit scheme will deal with the crisis of dropout rate, which is high in the Indian education system due to various reasons such as finance, health and family conditions etc

National Credit Framework For School Education

Academic Education

Grade/Level/Class

Study Hours

Credit Points

Pre Primary

 

800x3

8

Primary

I

800

5

Primary

II

800

11

Primary

III

1000

20

Primary

IV

1000

26

Primary

V

1000

33

Middle School

VI

1200

53

Middle School

VII

1200

67

Middle School

VIII

1200

80

High School

IX

1200

100

High School

X

1200

120

Senior Secondary

XI

1200

140

Senior Secondary

XII

1200

160

Source: Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, 2022

 

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Govt. of India pointed out about the dropout rate in school education through its 75th round household survey 2017-18 and mentioned that total 3.22 crores children aged between 6 to 17 years are out of school. National Education Policy 2020 expressed concern over the status of drop outs and out of school children and has set out a target to achieve 100 percent gross enrolment ratio from preschool to secondary level by 2030. Further, the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 27.1 percent according to the All India Survey of Higher Education 2019-20, Ministry of Education (MoE), Govt. of India. The Ministry has aimed to achieve 50 percent GER in higher education by 2035 in order to meet with the international higher education scenario. The flexibility and mobility mechanism will help in meeting these targets in a time bound manner and will make education a lifelong journey.

Academic Bank of Credits: NCrF focuses on creditisation which means assigning credit levels of all types of learning and its integration with various levels of the academic qualifications. The process of creditisation of the education shall be operationalised through a national level Academic Bank of Credits (ABC), which will have a comprehensive framework through which accumulation, storage, transfer and redemption of credits may be processed as per requirement of learners. It will be a virtual/digital database which will enable a learner to open their account, to earn, to store and to transfer credits during the educational journey

National Credit Framework For Higher Education

Academic Education

Semester/Year

Study Hours

Credit Points

Undergraduate Certificate

II/I

1200

180

Undergraduate Diploma

IV/II

1200

200

Bachelor's Degree

VI/III

1200

220

Bachelor's Degree (Honours/ Research/Engineering)

VIII/IV

1200

240

Post-Graduate Diploma

II/I

1200

240

Master's Degree (One Year)

II/I

1200

260

Master's Degree (Two Year)

IV/II

1200

260

Master's Degree (Two Year) (Engineering)

IV/II

1200

280

Doctoral

As per Norms

1200

320

Source: Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, 2022

 

Total learning hours for assignment of credits shall be uniform at school, higher and vocational education and professional training & skilling. Earning of credits shall be done through compulsory assessment process that may be rooted through teaching, learning, lab work, examinations, tests, projects, assignments, tutorials, sports and cultural activities, music, dance, drama, handicraft, social work, internship, training, skilling industrial exposure, apprenticeship, field visit, major and minor projects etc. The mechanism will allow a learner to learn anytime anywhere throughout the life. To sum up, we can say that National Credit Framework will bridge the gap between knowledge, skills, and employability. It attempts to address various issues that have been in existence in the Indian education system fora long period of time. India being youngest country (54% of its total population are below 25 years) needs to harness its true potential. And in order to do so reformation is education system is the need of the hours. National Credit Framework is a landmark initiative that is expected to transform the education scenario in the 21st century as per the mandate of the National Education Policy 2020. However, the implementation of NCrF in a timebound manner is most important in coordination with various stakeholders in Central, State, and Union Territories and continuous review for its execution at the ground level is crucial in order to assess its effectiveness.

* Dr Rajesh Kumar is Assistant Professor (Sr.) & Coordinator, Department of Mass Communication and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. He can be reached at rajesh.kumar@cuj.ac.in)

** Sameera Bhoi is Ph.D Scholar, Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. He can be reached at sameerbhoi111@gmail.com)

Views expressed are personal.