National Higher Education Qualifications Framework Draft Based on NEP 2020

National Higher Education Qualifications Framework

11, February 2022

The National Education Policy was drafted with the aim of improving the quality of higher education to develop thoughtful, well-rounded and creative individuals. It also emphasises that higher education must be planned in such a way that it would form the basis of knowledge creation and innovation. It points out that the purpose of quality higher education is not only to provide greater opportunities and individual employment but also it helps to develop vibrant, socially engaged, cooperative communities and a happier, cohesive, cultured, productive, innovative, progressive, and prosperous nation.

NEP 2020 formulated a National Higher Education Qualifications Framework, as per which expected learning outcomes can be for all higher education programmes can be ascertained. Furthermore, this shall be aligned with the National Skills Qualifications Framework(NSQF) that will help to integrate vocational educational courses into higher education.

The policy calls for several key changes within the educational system, such as transforming the HEIs into multidisciplinary universities and colleges. Consequently, this will help develop vibrant communities of scholars and peers and empower students to become well-rounded across multiple disciplines, including artistic, creative, analytic subjects, and sports. It will also help to develop active research communities across disciplines, including cross-disciplinary research and increase resource efficiency, both material and human, across higher education.

What is National Higher Education Qualifications Framework Draft (NHEQF)?

The higher education system in India has a varied structure that leads to a lack of comparability of outcomes depending on different qualifications across institutions. Consequently, this affects the employability of the students in the future also, some of the Indian qualifications are not recognised abroad whereas, some of the qualifications from abroad are not accepted in India.

Given the fact that India has a comprehensive higher education system and diverse institutions and programmes of study, the country needs to develop a nationally accepted and internationally comparable and acceptable qualifications framework. Also, institutions of varying levels need to ensure that the educators need to implement strategies that incorporate multi-disciplinary education.

What are the Characteristics and Purposes of the NHEQF?

The National Skills Qualifications Framework provides a comprehensive framework that classifies qualifications based depending on a set of performance criteria that are approved nationally and comparable with international quality standards. Here qualification type refers to the broad discipline-free nomenclature such as a Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctoral degree. The main purposes of the NHEQF are as follows:

Lay down an integrated national framework for recognizing and accrediting qualifications offered by different types of institutions engaged in higher education that includes vocational education and training, as well as technical/professional education in India.

Provide proper guidance to the higher education providers with points of reference during the setting and assessing of academic standards, designing curricula, teaching-learning assessment strategies, periodic review of programmes.

Help prospective students, parents, high education providers, employers, and other stakeholders understand the nature and level of expected learning outcomes and defined graduate attributes.

Provide timely assistance to identify the potential progression pathways from one level of education to the higher level of education. This includes multiple entries, exits and re-entry options specifically in the context of learning in the long run.

To ensure the public's confidence in the prospect of higher education qualifications and academic standards by enabling public understanding of the defined learning outcomes, graduate attributes/ profiles and academic achievemen

To ensure the proper maintenance of national standards and international comparability of learning outcomes academic standards.

Enable the maintenance and development of pathways that provide access to qualifications and assist people in moving between different education and training sectors and between those sectors and the labour market.

Provide necessary to individuals’ lifelong learning goals and processes by providing the basis for their progression in education and training.

Provide timely and appropriate guidance for quality assurance arrangements in education and training offered by high education institutes. This also includes the specific guideline that the institutes must follow during the online assessment.

To ensure and enhance the national and international mobility of graduates and workers through increased recognition of the value and comparability of the qualifications in the context of higher education in the country.

A Guide On National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) | Levels Of NSQF

What is the Scope of National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF)?

The National Higher Education Qualification Framework includes the qualifications from each training and education sector, including Technical and Vocational and Training(TVET) and professional and technical educational programmes( excluding medical and legal education), into a comprehensive qualifications framework. One of the most significant objectives of NHEQF is to elevate all HEIs to a standard level of benchmarking to ensure that all institutions provide quality education. It also helps to increase the flexibility and choice of courses of study by students, particularly at the undergraduate level. Simultaneously, keeping in line with the national curriculum framework, teaching-learning practices should move from rote learning to practical application and knowledge-based learning.

The framework is essentially an OBE system wherein different qualifications are classified along with the particular durations specified for each. It also acknowledges that each student has individualistic aspirations and possess characteristics regarding previous learning levels and experiences, learning styles and approaches to future career-related actions.

Furthermore, based on the framework, institutes can frame their own curriculum, including pedagogy,learning practices and assessments and practices. On the other hand, graduate attributes or profiles would reflect both disciplinary knowledge, understanding and skills related to specific fields of learning, generic learning outcomes that all students enrolled in different programmes of study should achieve and demonstrate after its completion.

NHEQF level Examples of Higher Education Qualifications Located Within Each Level
Level 5 Undergraduate Certificate. Programme duration: First year (first two semesters) of the undergraduate programme.
Level 6 Undergraduate Diploma. Programme duration: First two years (first four semesters) of the undergraduate programme.
Level 7 Bachelor’s Degree. Programme duration: First three years (six semesters) of the four-year undergraduate programme.
Level 8 Bachelor’s Degree (Honours/Research). Programme duration: Four years (eight semesters).
Level 8 Post-Graduate Diploma. Programme duration: One year (two semesters) for those who exit after successfully completing the first year (two semesters) of the 2-year master’s degree programme
Level 9 Master’s degree. Programme duration: Two years (four semesters) after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree.
Level 9 Master’s degree. Programme duration: One year (two semesters) after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree (Honours/Research)
Level 10 Doctoral Degree
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Posted By:
Gaurav Somani

Gaurav Somani,

Academic Consultant

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