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Why University Body Opted For Biannual Admissions: Explained

The UGC has previously implemented biannual admissions for open, distance learning, and online programmes. This change enabled nearly half a million students to enroll in degree programs without waiting for an entire year.

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Why University Body Opted For Biannual Admissions: Explained
Biannual Admissions: Adopting this new system is optional for universities.

In a major shift from traditional annual admissions, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced a policy allowing universities to admit students twice a year, specifically in July/August and January/February. This move aims to provide universities with the flexibility to decide their admission cycles based on their available infrastructure and faculty. However, adopting this new system is optional for universities.

Current System And Upcoming Changes

Traditionally, students are admitted once a year, starting in July/August. The UGC's new decision permits universities to conduct admissions in two cycles for undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD programmes: once in July/August and again in January/February. This approach mirrors the biannual admission cycles of some international universities, such as those in the United States, which have fall and spring intakes.

Rationale And Benefits

The UGC has previously implemented biannual admissions for open, distance learning, and online programmes. This change enabled nearly half a million students to enroll in degree programs without waiting for an entire year. UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar explained that this new system could benefit students who miss the July/August admissions due to health issues, delays in board exam results, or personal reasons. With the biannual admission system, these students can reapply in January/February instead of waiting a full year.

Mr Kumar also highlighted that international universities follow a biannual admission system, which could enhance international collaborations and student exchanges for Indian institutions. Additionally, this system could help increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER), which measures the ratio of students enrolled in higher education to the eligible population.

Next Steps For Institutions

The decision to implement biannual admissions rests with the universities themselves, requiring approval from their academic and executive councils. Universities will need to determine which programs to offer in both admission cycles, considering the availability of infrastructure and faculty.

UGC Chairperson Discusses Biannual Admission Process In Exclusive Interview

Speaking to NDTV, UGC Chairperson Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar said, "The university body had tested the biannual admission process in Online and Open & Distance Learning modes. After UGC permitted two-cycle admissions for the ODL modes, there was a significant rise in enrollments. A total of 19,73,056 students enrolled in July 2022, with an additional 4,28,854 students in January 2023. These numbers show that a second academic session in a year enabled nearly half a million students to join degree programs without waiting a full academic year."

When asked if the decision was made with all stakeholders in mind, Mr Kumar responded, "The biannual admission system is a global practice; admissions are conducted twice a year at all global universities. Only in our country is it done once a year. After seeing the positive response from students in the online program, we wanted to provide a similar option to universities offering physical courses. This is not a mandatory requirement; only colleges with the necessary infrastructure and faculty can opt for this system."

Regarding aligning education with international standards, Mr. Kumar explained, "Increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) is a national requirement and a strong recommendation of the NEP 2020. Higher educational institutions have a social responsibility to increase student intake. Conducting admissions twice a year allows universities to utilize available infrastructure and teaching faculty more effectively, admitting more students and helping to improve the GER."

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