Recognizing the in-service training imparted to Army personnel has been a familiar concept since the inception of Project Gyandeep, under which IGNOU and the Army have mutually devised a mechanism to certify Army training. The intention behind the project - "empowerment of soldiers for a better future"- struck a chord with the soldiers and generated widespread interest.
In a similar vein, the Army has entered into academic collaboration with two more eminent Universities- Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, Nashik and Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar, Adjutant General, signed both the Memorandums of Understanding on behalf of the Army with the respective Vice Chancellors of these Universities.
Both the initiatives would bestow credit equivalence to the in-house Army training. This would enable Army personnel to seek admission to academic courses conducted by these Universities and pursue them through the medium of distance learning. The Universities, on their part, would offer tailor-made curricula to the soldiers to meet their distinct requirement.
The MoU with Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University was signed under Project Yash Vidya on September 21, 2017. Established in 1989 and recognized by the UGC, YCMOU is the fifth open university of India. Under the Project, the University will offer Diploma in Self Empowerment and Bachelor's Degree in Arts or Commerce at highly subsidized fees.
The personnel who have passed senior secondary or equivalent examination can apply directly for the Bachelor's Degree programme. For those who have not, the University will offer a Preparatory programme as a bridge course. It would focus on basic study skills and would enable such personnel to apply for the Bachelor's Degree eventually.
YCMOU mandates a total of 18 courses under its Bachelor's Degree programme. However, Army personnel would be granted exemption for 12 of these courses in lieu of their training. Upon successful completion of the first year, a Diploma in Self Empowerment jointly certified by the Army and YCMOU would be awarded. At the conclusion of the third year, students securing 40% marks in the examination and having completed all the components of Army training would be awarded the Bachelor's Degree.
In addition, the University would also offer academic programs such as MBA to Army Officers, graduate JCOs, OR and NCC Cadets. In due course, some seats under the B.Ed. program of the University can also be made available to war widows.
The study material would be made available by the University in English, Hindi and Marathi for the Preparatory and BA programmes. They can also be made available in other languages as per felt need. The study material for B.Com. would be in English and for B.Ed. in Marathi.
Acknowledging the exigencies of service faced by a soldier, the University has offered to make the process of examination complimentary to leave granted to him. Consequently, it would provide online "on-demand" examination at its recognized centres across Maharashtra.
Army personnel posted anywhere in India can apply for these courses, despite YCMOU being a state University. Artillery Centre, Nashik has been nominated as the Nodal Study Centre. The registration process under Project Yash Vidya would commence soon.
Simultaneously, under Project Taleem-e-Taraqqi, MoU with Jamia Millia Islamia University was signed on September 28, 2017.
Along similar lines with Projects Gyandeep and Yash Vidya, the modalities of establishing credit equivalence between academic courses and Army training would be worked out jointly by the Army and JMIU. Once determined, this credit would count towards the total number of credits required for admission to second or subsequent years of courses conducted by the University.
It is also intended to extend the benefit of this collaboration subsequently to Army Officers and enable them to pursue post-graduate degrees and research programmes conducted by the University.