April 26, 2019

What are LOCF guidelines?

  • Full name: LOCF stands for ‘Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework’.

  • Background: In August 2018, UGC issued a public notice followed by a direction to all central institutions, to form subject-specific committees for the implementation of the Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework.

  • What is it? It is a framework on which the new curriculum for undergraduate courses will be modelled.

  • Features:
    • The idea behind LOCF is to decide the desired outcome within the framework of the current Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and then design the curriculum to obtain these outcomes.

    • The outcomes will be determined in terms of skills, knowledge, understanding, employability, graduate attributes, attitudes, values, etc., gained by students upon the completion of the course.

What are its proposed benefits?

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) believes that it will improve, among other things, their employability.

  • The LOCF approach “makes the student an active learner; the teacher a good facilitator and together they lay the foundation for lifelong learning”.

What is the opposition by Teachers at Delhi University (DU)?

  • They are agitated about the frequent changes in the undergraduate curriculum. The coming change will be the fifth in the last nine years at the university.

  • According to critics, each of these “reforms” was announced without warning, and implemented the very next year which has disrupted the functioning of the system, and caused confusion and trauma among students.

  • Each change was introduced with the objective of improving the quality of education and scaling up DU’s world ranking, but the outcome has been the opposite.

  • Critics also argue that the CBCS pattern of the undergraduate programme itself is faulty.

What is Choice Based Credit System (CBCS)?

  • CBCS, according to UGC, provides “a ‘cafeteria’ type approach in which the students can take courses of their choice, learn at their own pace, undergo additional courses and acquire more than the required credits and adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning”.

  • The Generic Elective (GE) course has to be compulsorily taken from an unrelated discipline/subject.

  • All Honours students must choose one Generic paper from options offered by disciplines other than their own in semesters 1-4.

  • Students of non-Honours courses must choose one generic paper from a discipline other than their own in the last two semesters.

What are the proposed benefits of CBCS?

  • According to UGC, the marks or percentage based evaluation system obstructs the flexibility for the students to study the subjects/courses of their choice and their mobility to different institutions.

  • However, CBCS offers opportunities and avenues to learn core subjects but also exploring additional avenues of learning beyond the core subjects for holistic development of an individual.

What is the criticism of the CBCS?

  • Critics point to three major problems: a repetition of papers, highly heterogeneous classes, and the creation of situations in which students don’t acquire much knowledge about a subject.

  • When students of different disciplines opt for a GE of a particular discipline, it creates a class of students who are very different from each other in attitude, knowledge, aptitude, and exposure.

  • The lack of synchronization in interdisciplinary syllabus formulation has made teaching-learning more difficult.

  • Critics argue that without a re-look at the CBCS framework, changes in the curriculum through LOCF will end up being another futile exercise.