The professors claimed that a full-time degree programme needs full-time attention and efforts while others noted that the flexibility will also be offered by the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) to a larger extent.
“A degree or a job when it is full time, it means the whole concentration of an individual has to be on it. Allowing a student to earn extra credits in a degree is one thing and allowing them to earn an extra degree is different. This will just dilute the quality of our degree programmes,” said Abha Dev Habib, a Delhi University professor.
“The move shows how much importance UGC attributes to degree programmes. No where in the world this happens. There is much more to a degree programme, there is time table, there are classroom hours, there has to be space for self study and extra curricular activities,” she added.
Another DU Professor Rajesh Jha said the University Grants Commission (UGC) is assuming that a student is “superhuman” or a person who can study 24 hours.
“By offering double degree programmes, you are diluting honours courses. The basic philosophy of honours courses is to provide comprehensive, intensive and advanced knowledge to students and even under honours courses, students can opt for discipline centric courses,” he said.
“If we talk about interdisciplinarity, then there are BSC and BA programmes. By doing this, you are raising questions on your programmes. This will lead to utter chaos in the education system,” he said.
In a first, the Centre has decided to allow students to pursue two full-time and same-level degree programmes in physical mode simultaneously either at the same university or from different universities.
The UGC will soon issue detailed guidelines in this regard and the option will be available to students from 2022-23 academic session.
“The kind of flexibility UGC wants to provide to students, there are already options available for that such as FYUP. There is no need to prompt students to take extra burden of a complete academic programme to have that kind of flexibility,” said a professor of a top private university.
According to the draft guidelines prepared by the UGC, students can pursue two full-time degrees in three ways.
First, they can pursue both academic programmes in the physical mode provided that in such cases, class timings for one programme do not overlap with the class timings of the other programme.
Second, they can pursue one programme in physical mode and another in online or distance mode. And third, they can pursue up to two-degree programmes in online or distance mode simultaneously.
For now, the two degrees will only be non-technical programmes that are approved by the UGC.
They can be a combination of subjects from different streams, that is humanities, science and commerce, and admission will be granted depending on the eligibility of the student and the availability of programmes.