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Design you Own Degree Now

12:11 AM Jun 04, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
design you own degree now

In the contemporary times, where India hosts the largest youth population in the world, policy decisions are both a challenge and a risk. Taking lessons from the developmental models of the recently developed and developing nations it can safely be validated that for a country with a large population, it is very much essential that the human capital transformations are designed and put in place and practice, as soon as possible.


Given the very basic ageing characteristic of any population, the line between it becoming an asset or ending being a liability is highly agile. It falls upon the thinkers, researchers and policy makers of the country to be creative, and innovative and think outside the box, ahead of time.


One such dynamic move has been taken by the educationists and the educational policy makers of India by introducing the National Education Policy-2020 (NEP-2020). The NEP-2020 has been designed with the aim of transforming the young people of India into a human capital that very much turns-out to be feasible for social, economic and political systems of the country.


The NEP-2020 is based on five guiding pillars access, equity, equality, affordability, and accountability in education and educational outcomes. In realisation of the underlying fact that the gestation period of educational outcomes is no less than a decade or two (depending on the level and years of education), it is very much essential that a futuristic education policy is to be devised.


The interventions and changes made today in the educational systems and policies would be reflected in a future date from where there is no turning back in time and altering the overall outcomes of the population of the country.


Within the NEP-2020 framework, one of the most ambitious policies has been registered as the novel programme of ‘Designing Your Own Degree’ (DYOD). Under the DYOD module students after passing their 12th class examination are admitted to a degree that gives exposure to the fresh young minds into different subjects and fields of knowledge. From mathematics to literature the students are exposed to the taste and feel of (almost) every fundamental subject.


The pedagogy and modules of teaching under DYOD is very much contemporary and innovative in approach. The students are excused from the theoretical and imaginary conceptualisation of ideas and encouraged towards an experiential and practical learning approach.


During the initial years of the course under the DYOD module, the students are stimulated towards looking through a multi-disciplinary reliance towards a better understanding of their selves, society and the universe. Being experiential and practical in its approach in pedagogy, the students are constantly evaluated and encourage to identify the subjects and the academic problems that they find most interesting.

Over the period of four-year undergraduate degree, towards the advanced stages, the students are encouraged to choose the Major subject of their degree corresponding to their highest academic interest. In order to maintain the inter- and multi-disciplinary approach mandated by the NEP-2020, the students of DYOD are further encouraged to take the Minor subjects in such a mix that the overall outcome of their degree is curated as practical and market centric as possible.

The region of Jammu and Kashmir has always been different and distinct in a number of ways. The policies and policy interventions needed and required from time to time for a holistic and overall development of the region has always called for a special attention.

In realisation of the same, under the mandates and guidelines of the NEP-2020, the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) took a lead in brainstorming the programs and processes to train the young students of today as market-oriented change-makers of tomorrow.

One of the bold steps that the IUST took came in the form of first of its kind “Design Your Own Degree” program. The whole process of curating the degree has been meticulously brainstormed, discussed, criticised and improvised within the university circle. After designing the policy thoroughly and holistic within the university, the same was taken to the central educational Brains and another round of brainstorming and improvisation was put in place.

The basic motive of offering the DYOD program in the region of Jammu and Kashmir by the IUST has been the vision of Jammu and Kashmir progressing forth with a wealth of superior human capital. The designing of the modules within the DYOD program at the IUST is highly centred in the local and national problems faced by the people in the country.

The focus on the experiential and ‘doing it by learning’ module of the DYOD program at the IUST intends to train the students in understanding the most important societal and economic problems.

This is followed by a systematic pedagogy where the students are encouraged to think as change makers and eventually specialised in the Major and Minor subjects targeting one problem (at a time) that the individual expects to solve over the course of his lifetime; utilising the special skills that (s)he is being trained in.

Regular sessions with the students of DYOD at the IUST, between the mentees and teachers and solely amongst the teachers and various stakeholders of the local and national economy, society, policy and polity always leaves the next step of the progressing ladder open for improvisation.

Currently, the students of DYOD at the IUST apart from being exposed to different subjects and fields of learning are also engaged in identifying the societal problems that they think are crucial. They are made to think about possible ways through which they can contribute a positive change in solving the problem employing the specialisation they expect to develop in the course of next five to seven years.

This write-up being the first one in the series of the NEP-2020 centric DYOD academic experimentation concerning the country of India in general and the region of Jammu and Kashmir and particular by the IUST will be continually followed up.

The DYOD program would be continually evaluated and improvised and eventually shared with the general public of the country to sensitise each stakeholder of the country towards following a passion that serves at-least one societal and common problem of the citizens of the country.

It is expected that in the course of next two to three decades under the modules of NEP-2020 in general and the DYOD program in particular the youth of India would steadily be transformed into the most productive human capital of the contemporary world.

By Dr. Mehak

Dr. Mehak is affiliated with the IUST and is one of the mentors within the DYOD module.