UGC approves guidelines for short term skill development courses in HEIs

New Delhi: In a groundbreaking move to seamlessly integrate skill development into higher education, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the “Guidelines for the Introduction of Short-Term Skill Development Courses in Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs).”

According to the proposed guidelines, these short-term skill development courses will be open to students pursuing degrees or diplomas at HEIs, as well as individuals who have completed class 12 or its equivalent.

The guidelines for the introduction of short-term skill development courses in higher educational institutes (HEIs)” will pave the way for HEIs to offer courses with up to 30 credits, focusing on practical learning to boost students’ productivity in the workplace. The duration of these courses will range between three and six months.

The UGC’s guidelines, approved on Thursday, empower universities and colleges to collaborate with relevant skill councils and industry stakeholders to provide access to placement opportunities, funding schemes, and industry-aligned training with the latest course content. The courses, running in a “self-sustainable mode,” will be subject to each university’s policies, ensuring flexibility in implementation.

Notable features of the UGC initiative include recommendations for short-term courses focusing on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, Internet of Things, data science, cloud computing, virtual reality, cyber security, 5G connectivity, and industrial automation. Additionally, a unique course on “Yogic Sciences” is included among the suggested programs.

UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar emphasised that this initiative aligns with the objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, encouraging a shift from traditional learning methods to holistic learning.

“These courses will enable students to acquire desired competency levels and acquire additional skills to upgrade their competencies further, and transition to the job market,” stated Kumar. The courses will also be available to students who have dropped out of colleges and universities, aiming to make them more employable.

The draft guidelines outline 27 focus areas for the credit-linked short-term skill development courses, encompassing emerging fields such as AI, robotics, Internet of Things, data science and analytics, digital marketing, yogic sciences, and soft skills, among others.


To implement these courses effectively, the guidelines propose the establishment of a “Centre for Skill Development Courses” in HEIs, headed by a senior professor. This centre will play a crucial role in maintaining profiles of local job opportunities, skill requirements in the region, and provide data support for the courses. The centre can be established independently by HEIs or through collaboration with the industry.

HEIs are expected to publish crucial information about the short-term skill development courses on their websites, including the nomenclature, number of seats, admission criteria, course structure, fee structure, details of admitted students, and certificates issued for each course.

In addition, the guidelines suggest constituting an advisory committee including the Vice Chancellor or principal along with experts from the industry, CEOs of awarding bodies and other members.

The performance of the centre will be audited every three years by an external committee constituted by the VC or the principal, the guidelines state.