Demystifying: Academic Bank of Credits (ABC)
The Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) was envisioned in the National Education Policy 2020 to facilitate academic mobility of students with the freedom to study across the country’s Higher Education Institutions with an appropriate “credit transfer” mechanism. In the mechanism of ABC, an online virtual space is provided to students to deposit and consolidate the credits earned during their degrees at various Indian Educational institutions, leading to attainment of a Degree/ Diploma/PG diploma, etc.
The ABC, as a student centric initiative, provides a learner-friendly approach that ensures accumulation of multidisciplinary credits from several institutions. This enables the youth of this country choices of crafting his/her own degree and finally graduating from institute of choice.
PROCESS OF USING ACADEMIC BANK OF CREDITS
Like a Bank Account, here an Academic Bank Account is opened in the name of a student who gets enrolled on the higher education system and is operated by the student. Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) transactions include the deposit of academic credits earned by students, the maintenance of credits accumulated and transferred, and the validation and redemption of credits for the award of a degree/diploma/certificate, etc. from a registered university/institute.
The ABC operates as a digital or virtual platform managed by UGC with approval from the Central Government. Through a formal system, the Academic Bank Account enables students to have mobility between and within degree-granting Higher Education Institutions.
Students’ credits will be deposited in their ABC ‘Academic Account.’ If the student transfers to another institution, the accumulated credits are transferred to the new institution’s account. Credits from one institution may be transferred to another to be accumulated in another programme offered by the same or another institution. When a credit is redeemed for the above award, it is permanently deducted from the student’s ABC “Academic Account.”
3 A’s OF ACADEMIC BANK OF CREDITS
Numerous credit allocation is the process of assigning multiple credits to credentials, degree programmes, or individual educational components. Credits are granted to full credentials or programmes based on participation in the ABC scheme by universities or autonomous institutes.
Credits can be accumulated by a student to obtain qualifications required by the degree-granting institution or to document personal achievements for lifelong learning purposes.
The act of formally awarding students and other learners the credits assigned to the qualification and/or its components if they meet the specified learning outcomes. Individual students are given credits after completing the required learning activities and achieving the defined learning outcomes, as evidenced by appropriate assessment.
Distribution of Courses in the Academic Bank of Credits
A credit value is assigned to a course that counts toward the completion of a program’s credential. A programme is designed in such a way that it includes a pool of courses from the various course categories, such as Core courses, Core electives, and so on. All such courses will be assigned credits, which indicate the amount of time in hours that should be allotted to complete the course. ABC gives the student the freedom to complete such courses from any institution of his choice at any time when the course is available (subject to the UGC/admission institution’s and completion regulations).
Course credits can be accumulated across various types of courses as classified in Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) system:
Core Course: It is a required component of a programme that should be studied by all students as a core requirement of the programme.
Core Elective: These are the courses offered by the main discipline as a program’s discipline-specific elective.
Open Elective Course: This is a course designed to expose students to a variety of disciplines. It is usually from an unrelated programme course.
Skill Enhancement Elective Course: These are value-based or skill-based courses chosen from a pool of options. Students are free to make their own decisions based on their specific requirements.
Ability Enhancement Elective Course: These courses are required for all disciplines. These courses are based on content that leads to increased knowledge.
Based on the above classification, the ABC keeps credits in multiple course baskets as described earlier for a student. Students could earn credits by enrolling in a course or multiple courses at any of the registered institutions and transferring the credits to the Academic Bank through that institution.
CREDIT MANAGEMENT AND REDEMPTION SYSTEM
Students can earn credits by taking courses from any registered institution or university department, and after completing the course, the credits will be transferred to his Credit Bank Account. A student who wishes to complete a graduation/certification programme must obtain the required credits for all credential courses applicable for that programme.
When a student has earned the required number of credits for all of the courses in a programme, he can use them to obtain a degree from a registered university or institution where he has completed at least 50% of the course.
Here the student first registers as a learner. The student then gains knowledge and credits from the registered institution of his choice. After accumulating a sufficient number of credits, the student applies for credit recognition.
The student then applies for the intended degree with the registered university where the entire documents are reviewed based on degree requirements and issue the degree if he could fulfil all the requirements.
ACADEMIC BANK OF CREDITS FOR STUDENTS
Academic Bank of Credit liberalizes and democratizes the Higher Educational System. Students can progress through the system with a part-time enrollment and have multiple entry and exit points. As credit banks allow inter-collegiate and university mobility for doing a programme, students will progress through a standardized curriculum.
Students have the opportunity to learn from a variety of institutional cultures and standards. In addition, students have the option of tailoring their degrees to their preferences and industry demand.
Courses offered through online modes such as National Schemes — SWAYAM, NPTEL, V-Lab, and so on — or through any specified university will also be considered for credit transfer and credit accumulation. This makes learning more flexible.
However, because the credits gained under the ABC method are kept flexible for a long time in the interest of students, to allow credit redemption after the date of earning such credits, the validity of such credits earned will be limited to a maximum period of 7 years or as specified separately by ABC for different subject disciplines.
ACADEMIC BANK OF CREDITS FOR INSTITUTIONS
The adoption of the Academic Bank of Credit provides the institution with a competitive advantage in terms of quality assurance. It requires the higher education institution to maintain continuous quality development.
University and Autonomous / Affiliated Colleges, regardless of programme, should be subject to the condition that they are accredited by NAAC or such body to be recognized in the future with at least an ‘A’ Grade.
If their accreditation status falls below ‘A’ Grade at any time, their ABC membership will be terminated. Students who enrolled before the change in accreditation status for a specific set of courses, on the other hand, maybe eligible for credit transfer for the award of a degree.
ABC, on the other hand, improves course delivery across disciplines. Following the implementation of the ABC scheme, the demand for the department or a specific course within the department will be highlighted based on student acceptance of the course.
The benefits and drawbacks of this system have yet to be determined because it is still in its infancy in our national context. However, one important aspect of this change is that it is aimed at completely transforming our educational system into a flexible system offering variety of courses aligned with jobs of the future.