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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

NEP 2020: Revamping Higher Education & Challenges Ahead

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Omm Priyadarshi
Omm Priyadarshi
Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Professional and typically writes on Socio-cultural, Policy & Gender-related issues.

Modi government is all set to install NEP in the nation’s education system. Recently, the education ministry has accomplished the ‘MyNEP’ contest in association with ‘Vidya Bharati’ among students, teachers, and ordinary citizens to raise and gauge the general awareness about NEP. Ever since the policy was announced, it has got copious acclamations by eminent educationists, lawmakers, activists, and even international organizations. The recommendations for higher education have the potentiality to make India a global hub for inclusive learning.

In higher education, the government has raised the gross enrolment ratio to 50% by 2035, introducing 35 million additional seats. The policy emphasizes making higher education multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative, idea-based-application, and vocational education. The new education policy focuses on developing large multi-disciplinary universities such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Vallabhi, and Vikramshila in ancient times. It will increase an interdisciplinary research environment to create innovative individuals to transform the nation educationally and economically. It also implements a flexible curriculum through multiple entries and multiple exit system.

The students will be provided with appropriate certification based on completed credits. Higher education will be monitored by a single body, i.e., the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The HECI will have National Accreditation Council, Higher Education Grants Council, General Education Council, and the National Higher Education Regulatory Council, responsible for accreditation, funding, standard-setting, and regulation, respectively. There will be no difference in the norms for public and private institutions. The new policy also emphasizes fostering the research across the higher education institutions and suggests to create the National Research Foundation (NRF) as an apex body to achieve the task.

The new policy advocates to phase out the culture of affiliated colleges in the next 15 years. The institutes will get financial autonomy as well. Another exciting part of the new policy is that it allows Indian universities to open their overseas campuses and encourage top universities worldwide to open their campuses in India. The objective is to promote India as a global study destination by providing premium education at affordable costs. Furthermore, research collaboration and student exchanges between Indian institutions and global universities will be endorsed through exceptional efforts. Credits acquired in foreign universities will be permitted, where appropriate as per home institutions’ requirements, to be counted for the degree’s award. Research scholars will get add-on assistantships, and scholarships number would be a hike in higher education.

The policy will ensure to provide co-curricular activity opportunities to students of HEIs. Students would be encouraged to participate in sports, community involvement, and cultural activity clubs. They will get yoga, gyming, stress management counseling, and medical facilities inside the campus. The institutions will cater to mentorship, socio-emotional, and academic support to URG (under-represented groups, i.e., SC, ST, Minorities, special needy) students, as well as free ship in spare cases. The administration is bound for strict enforcement of no-discrimination and anti-harassment rules. Gender-neutrality, equity, and inclusion will be the critical elements in the campus environment.

The Challenges Ahead

The infrastructure issue will be the first big challenge for the government as there are not adequate resources for the education field as it is considered a less lucrative lot by industrialists. This vast population is not a very easy task to provide education, and they need large funds for this. Due to the COVID-19 situation & recession in the economy, it would be tough to obtain.

Secondly, To increase GER to 50% is challenging in itself. We have to open 100+ new universities and enhance seats in existed universities to doubling the Gross Enrollment Ratio in the next 15 years. The central government has to allocate a particular budget for this. Further, we need motivated, energized, and capable faculties in those universities, including other academic & supporting staff. Yes, it will increase employability in the education sector, but funding and management in a short period are quite tricky.

Third, the most puzzling part of the NEP to implement it in spirit. The finance constraint and state and center relations will be the biggest hurdles in it. We all are aware that education is not the only service, but it is also a political tool for many regional and political groups. They will not allow implementing some of the recommendations of the NEP as it will undermine their authority. It is a big task for the center to agree with some of its recommendations like closing down stand-alone institutions etc.

Once upon a time, India was the first choice for foreign scholars to enroll in higher education. However, the fame had faded away after continuous Islamic invasions. Hope the government will implement NEP successfully in the higher education system and achieve all its goals in the predicted time. Thus, India will restore its role as a Vishwaguru. With these enormous reforms, the new education policy will boost the quality of Indian education and help in an individual’s holistic development. Apart from this, it may also help increase the Indian economy to attract India’s foreign investments. The advancement in technology plays a critical role in the nation’s prosperity, technology advances through quality research, and quality research can be conducted through critical thinking. The new education policy gives faith to make it happen.

Omm Priyadarshi

Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Professional and typically writes on Socio-cultural, Policy, and Gender-related issues. He tweets @iommpriyadarshi

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Omm Priyadarshi
Omm Priyadarshi
Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Professional and typically writes on Socio-cultural, Policy & Gender-related issues.
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