The NEP 2020 announced by Ministry of Education, is a welcome move for the countrymen. It emphasizes on holistic multidisciplinary education for future nation’s stakeholders.
There are seven salient features or objectives of the announced National education policy apart from what is clearly evident in its documentation and which are in perfect harmony with Government’s previous initiatives since 2014.
Self – reliant India
First objective of the NEP is to device and implement robust solutions to its own problems that are in harmony with different programs and initiatives of Government of India – make in India, skill India, start-up India and latest being atma-nirbhar India.
If we look back at these schemes, we will find that these were initiated in phases since 2014 but with common goal that is to promote entrepreneurship over jobs. The current Covid19 crisis has proved the validity and necessity of such self-reliant society and it also aimed in redirecting an unemployed youth to find employment through a self-sustained skill-based model.
If we look at section 3, 4 and 7 of School education along with 10.8 article of NEP document, skill education is given prime importance in school and higher education. It is to be induced at school level from pre-school to class 12th and it aims to empower each student in one vocational skill. Continuing to Higher Education, it aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.
Related Regulatory body – A National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE) will be constituted to set framework.
Sustainable development goals
UN defined 17 sustainable development goals with SDG4 as primarily education as well-defined tool in 2015. Article 7.12 talks of constituting samajik chetna kendra, that will include activities for society and provide social cohesive environment at schools.
Article 10.3 and 10.6 , talks of crucial responsibilities of Higher Education Institutes in community engagement, support for school system as well as value-based education and environmental education. The Holistic development of an individual is aimed through positive inclusive education from school education to higher education and not only limiting to specific subjects but extended to climate, culture, values and environment awareness. It is further equated to Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a response to contemporary global challenges, understand global challenges and solve them. The intention is to prepare the students think and adopt a eco-friendly lifestyle since the primary level of education.
Education as Economy booster
Section 17 of NEP stresses upon knowledge economy in terms of promoting cultural heritage, increasing GER in Higher Education, aspiring more and more youth to pursue
higher education, creating a pool of talented and skilled youth who aspire to build the nation and boost national economy, imbibing technology solutions and digitally empowered HEIs. GDP of 6% to be invested for achieving these goals. Since knowledge economy is interrelated to society, this brings multitudes of socio- economic improvements. Stress on vocational studies and support through funding, incubation canters reinforce boosting economy through entrepreneurship.
Internationalisation of Higher Education
Internationalisation of HE is added first time to Education policy of India. It targets on creating India as a knowledge hub attracting foreign nationals and to promote research collaboration and student exchanges between Indian institutions and global institutions through organised efforts. Exchange of Credits between foreign universities and home institutes will be permitted, to be counted for the award of a degree in appropriation as per HEI. This is a multi-beneficiary significant reform that should benefit in seamless education and industrial jobs across the globe.
It will also boost international business relations in not only education but in support services and other sectors also as the passed-out students would have become more aware with Indian culture, socio-economic diversity, trade regulations, industry strengths and many more.
Digitalized pedagogy and classrooms
The initiative of digital India and current crisis of pandemic has been the motive behind the need and creation of digital libraries, digital content, digital pedagogy and classrooms, online teaching and learning of different languages in NEP 2020.
Sec 23 and 24 gives details of integrating technology through a dedicated unit for planning and development of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building of institutes in technology to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education and to make India a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Main challenge here is the scale at which internet connectivity, technological devices and infrastructure needs to be developed and implemented.
Regulatory body – An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), is proposed to provide a platform to facilitate decision making on the induction, deployment, and use of technology, as well as the opportunity to consult and share best practices.
A layered Accreditation system
A new layered accreditation system for on campus and for online distance learning (ODL), infrastructure for quality degree granting institutes and universities, autonomy to faculty and institutes defines NEP2020 in 21st century for India. The layered Accreditation system will differentiate between a degree granting stand-alone college and a wholesome University. Affiliation system is to be stopped and teaching and research forms two major activities in an institute. Accreditation should be able to set standards in quality of infrastructure, faculty, technology, GER, research facilities.
Equipping teachers with latest technology and education methodology
There are several initiatives that are introduced specifically for training of teachers in school and higher education. One is to train them in digital technology with the help of nationwide agencies and centers in each district. It also mentions higher remuneration for the teachers to attract best talents to the industry. The main other development is introducing courses in education via B.Ed and a mandatory certified education in teaching pedagogy during ph.D enrolment for aspiring professors. A good research student may not be a good teacher also. They need to be educated on the methodology and tools of knowledge transfer hence this is a very promising step.
There are many features that have been inserted in NEP, however implementation will have its own challenge in terms of funding, best in class resources and the huge scalability. A major sector is assessments which remain bit underrated in present NEP 2020. There is no clear route to erase rote learning and stress on applied knowledge test and a practice of strictly no plagiarism. Let’s support the policy and keep giving feedbacks on further scope of improvements and checkmarks required to avoid malpractice of any kind.
(Author Dr Vaneeta Aggarwal is CEO L’strategique LLP. Views expressed here are personal.)