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Life Changing Or Cosmetic Changes

The NEP 2020 encourages multi-disciplinary education at the under graduate level, allowing students to take up subjects across disciplines and learn vocational skills

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THE NEP IS A GAME-CHANGING

vision document for the education industry. India’s education system badly needed a revolution as minor tweak- ing of the policy wasn’t being enough. The system had already started to falter, with reducing return on investment from college de- grees. Students had begun to lose hope. The document is progressive in its approach and creates the right condi- tions for spontaneous combustion, without putting the industry on fire. The NEP addresses all the three chronic problems – quality, quantity and inclusiveness and when implemented, shall have a profound impact on the life of the students too. Here is how:

Choice

The NEP has put an emphasis on multi-disciplinary un- der-graduate education. Students will be encouraged to take up multidisciplinary subjects and merge them with vocational and soft skills. Innovative combinations like machine learning and psychology will be encouraged. To move away from the rote learning culture and march to- wards a practical, hands-on approach, students of all uni- versities will be provided internship opportunities as well as research internships to improve their employability.

Programme structure

The undergraduate degree programme can be a three- year or a four-year programme with multiple exit options. Students exiting at the end of a year get a certificate, at the end of two years they get a diploma and at the end of three years, they get a degree. All credits and certificates, thus earned, shall be transferable across institutions. Stu- dents will be able to accumulate credits by complet- ing courses in different institutions and aggregating them to get a degree. The document also proposes a four- year degree where the last year may be dedi- cated to research work in the area of specialisation. Accordingly, Masters degrees can be for two years (for students who have taken a three-year degree pro- gramme) or for a year (for a four-year degree student). A PhD can be taken up either by a Masters student or by a four-year degree student.

Medium of Instruction

Colleges and universities shall be encouraged to offer programmes in two languages, either their mother- tongue or a local language and a second language. Use of mother-tongue or local language shall be pro- moted.

Assessments

Institutions shall be asked to move out of term-end examinations to a system of continuous evaluation and feedback. All institutions will have the autonomy to decide their mode, style and pattern of assessments within the broad guidelines provided. There shall be no differentiation between classroom students, ODL students or online students. Assessments shall move from a memory-check examination to a more sen- sible assessment – that of achievement of the learning goals.

The integration of the course curriculum with industry through internships and apprenticeships shall provide hands-on learning experience to students

Student Counselling

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) shall set up special support centres for students from socio-eco- nomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Institutions will be provided with resources to provide special- ised scholarships to meritorious and needy students. Students will also be provided with professional, academic and career counselling services by their institutions.

Vocational Education

Universities shall start integrating vocational edu- cation with mainstream formal education. Every student will be encouraged to learn at least one vo- cational skill.

Fees

All institutions will have the au- tonomy to fix their own course fees within a range provided by the regu- lator. No institution will be permit- ted to arbitrarily increase their fees.

Use Of Technology

Institutions shall be encouraged to use a variety of new and disruptive technologies like artificial intel- ligence, machine learning, block- chains, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive com- puter testing for student develop- ment. This is expected to improve the pedagogy and the learning out- come.

International Students

Universities will be permitted to en- rol international students into their programmes. To ensure smooth movement of students, a credit transfer system between foreign universities and Indian universities will be developed.

The policy document is both for- ward-looking and transformation- al. Students can benefit from a lot of choices for courses, a contemporary course curriculum, a modern pedagogy, an equivalence of creditsbetween online, ODLandclassroomprogrammes, a much improved assessment system, mentorship and career counselling. The integration of the course curriculum with industry through internships and apprenticeships shall provide hands-on learning experience to students. A clear mandated focus on employability can help improve graduate employability rates. But much rests on the way the policy document is implemented on the ground. In- dia is missing its tryst with destiny not because of lack of intentions but owing to a chronic execution deficit. The government has done the right thing by setting up an ambitious vision; but the benefits will depend on how it is implemented.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Shantanu Rooj

Shantanu Rooj is one of the founding member and CEO of SchoolGuru Eduserve Pvt. Ltd. He is a CBSE All India Topper and a Gold Medalist from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University followed by a Masters in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management and Executive Management Program in Global Business Management from IIM,Kolkata. Shantanu has earlier held key positions in HCL-Hewlett Packard Ltd. But the entrepreneurial itch was too hard to resist and he decided to quit his job and founded Paradyne (now called Glodyne) followed by Broadllyne and SchoolGuru. He is a passionate education entrepreneur, investor and speaker. He also serves on the Board of SchoolGuru Eduserve.

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