Higher education in one of the most literate state is all set to undergo a large-scale revamp.
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What has brought cheer to the cadets and officials of the National Cadet Corps is that in all likelihood NCC will soon be integrated into the higher education curriculum.
The Directorate General of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), New Delhi, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) has written a letter to vice-chancellors of all universities on April 15, for the introduction of NCC as a General Elective Credit Course (GECC).
As and when implemented, NCC will become a part of the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) envisioned in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
It will permit students enrolled as NCC cadets to receive academic credits for NCC training and avail employment incentives offered under various central and state government schemes.
Today, NCC is the largest uniformed youth volunteer organization in the country with girl cadets accounting for one third of the total strength.
Speaking to IANS Additional Director General (ADG), Kerala Directorate NCC, Major General M.S.Gill said that in Kerala the move in this direction has begun and they have written to all the vice-chancellors in Kerala.
“By now a few Universities in Jammu and Orissa have already done this and other states have prepared the road map for this.
“Meanwhile the All India Council of Technical Education has also decided to take up the integration with engineering colleges also. We have asked all our Commanding Officers in the state to take up this topic with respective colleges as well.
“The condition of introducing NCC into the college curriculum is that the College should have an NCC unit,” said Gill.
Had it not been for the Covid and the lockdowns, the NCC elective issue would have been taken up much earlier and it could well be a matter of months before this becomes a reality.
Brigadier Sunil Kumar NV, Kottayam NCC Group Commander, said that introduction of the NCC curriculum as an elective subject will also accrue various indirect advantages.
He has taken it up with the Mahatma Gandhi University vice-chancellor who has said it will have to be approved by the University syndicate and senate.
“We are waiting for the approval from the Universities. The biggest incentive for the youth, however, is the pride that stems from wearing a uniform. In the state, there are five Groups located at Ernakulam, Kottayam, Trivandrum, Calicut and Kollam.
“Despite the relatively smaller jurisdictional area it boasts of a total cadet strength of around 83,000, which compares favourably with other Directorates.
“An interesting thing is that, with 43 per cent girl-cadets, Kerala has the distinction of having the highest representation of girl cadets in the entire country,” said Sunil Kumar.
Cadet Godbi S. Babu a student at the Mar Thoma College at Thiruvalla said he would love to opt for NCC as an elective as part of the new NEP 2020, as it gives more options of subjects and also it lets him fulfil his desire to join as an officer in the Army.
Cadet Manacy Mariya Isaac, of Alphonsa College, Pala in Kottayam said NCC as an elective subject is a great advancement towards a skill-oriented tomorrow.
“Awarding credit points will enhance cadet’s progress and qualify them for their respective courses. This will open doors for many and contribute immensely towards a brighter future,” said Manacy Mariya Isaac.
Going a step further, Associate NCC officer Regi Joseph, who has become well known for his great humanitarian service in the past 45 days by helping out Covid patients in Idukki, said he would bat for NCC to be made compulsory subject in the school — as the young minds can be trained in the right manner.
“With the NCC portfolio now coming under R.Bindhu, who is also the State Higher Education Minister, who recently quit her job as the acting principal of a prestigious college and also has been a syndicate member in Universities — now with Vijayan giving the green signal for a revamp — it is certain it won’t take Kerala long to implement this novel programme,” said Joseph.