With a vision to provide gainful employment to the growing working age population and to develop skilled manpower, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Friday issued guidelines for Higher Education Institutions - 'Apprenticeship/Internship embedded Degree Programme', July 2020.
Under this “credits for apprenticeship/internship programme shall be included in the total credits of the entire programme. At least 20% of the total credits for the degree programme should be assigned to apprenticeship/internship,” said the new guidelines.
“The total credits assigned to a particular degree programme shall continue to follow the CBCS. Accordingly, a student will have to earn 132 credits for the award of undergraduate degree. Credits for apprenticeship/ internship training may be suitably accommodated in the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) by the HEI,” it added.
The HEIs are free to evolve their own mechanism to give academic credits for the apprenticeship/internship undergone as part of the programme.
The guidelines specify that in case of "HEIs still following the annual system, suitable provisions may be introduced accordingly".
Experts involved in framing these rules believe India is going to have the largest working age population by 2030 and these will help in gainful employment for general stream students, which right now is a major challenge.
UGC Chairman DP Singh opined in the guidelines: “Improving employability of these students requires a new vision with curricular support for employment. Apprenticeship/Internship has a prominent role to play in linking higher education with the requirements of the industry and the world of work.”
Paving the way for an industry-led, practice-oriented and outcome-based learning, these guidelines are intended to provide an option for Higher Educational Institutions to embed Apprenticeship/Internship in any UG degree programmes specified by UGC.
The general provisions for the apprenticeship program mean, “Any undergraduate degree programme in all disciplines as specified by the UGC under section 22 (3) of the UGC Act, 1956 is eligible to embed apprenticeship/ internship in to the degree programme.”
Also “an apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme shall be treated at par with the UG degree programmes specified by the UGC under section 22 (3) of the UGC Act, 1956.”
The role of Higher Education Institutions
Under the new guidelines, the HEIs will have to generate interest of students in its participation. They will be encouraged to offer the apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme to students. HEIs are expected to create awareness about its merits and also motivate students to opt for apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme.
“HEIs in consultation with Sector Skill Councils and/or industry/industry associations and/ or commercial/non-commercial organisations/enterprises and/or offices, would design the Apprenticeship/Internship embedded Degree Programme in a way consistent with these guidelines.”
There will be an Apprenticeship Cell in HEIs with an overall role of a facilitator and counsellor for apprenticeship/internship related activities.
The HEIs carrying out the programme are expected to obtain the approval from their respective Academic/Executive Bodies according to their statutes.
This programme focusses on promoting industry-academia linkages and boost the functioning of the placement cell.
“The HEIs in consultation with Sector Skill Councils, AICTE, FICCI, CII, commercial and non-commercial organizations or enterprises, and industry would design the apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme in a way consistent with these guidelines”.
The HEIs would be expected to have a prior Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with discipline specific commercial and non-commercial organisations or enterprises, offices, industry etc “for providing apprenticeship/internship, before introducing the apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme”.
The HEIs will plan the number of seats for apprenticeship/internship training as per the facility and infrastructure available.
Under the new guidelines, industry associations like FICCI, CII, commercial and non-commercial organisations or enterprises and industry are expected to assist the HEIs in designing the apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programme.
Sector Skill Councils (SSC) and Board of Apprenticeship Training (BOAT) are expected to participate in the programme by assisting “HEIs in identifying industries for apprenticeship/internship”.
“The SSC and BOAT can also assist the HEIs in designing the apprenticeship /internship embedded Degree Programme in a way consistent with these guidelines,” said the guidelines.
The UGC will monitor the participation and outcomes the UGC will maintain a dedicated portal for obtaining relevant information from the HEIs. Under this “Institutions offering Apprenticeship /Internship-embedded Degree Programme will be required to submit details regarding the programme/s on the aforesaid portal,” said the guidelines.
These embedded apprenticeship/internship programmes are going to offer a kind of a traineeship which will be off campus. “The traineeship undertaken shall not on the campus but at the premises of the workplace like commercial or non-commercial organizations or enterprises, or offices, or industry, or industry associations to get work-based learning in identified discipline/trade.”
The guidelines specify that any UG degree programme will have an option to embed at least one semester of apprenticeship/internship as part of the degree programme without altering the total duration of the programme.