NEP-2020: Hoping for a new era from 2023-24
: Few highlights/excerpts for our learners-
As declared, the NEP-2020 will be implemented in the country from the next academic session 2023-24. So, this is the right time to thoroughly look into the clauses of the Policy document by one and all. Without proper study and understanding, no one can justify the need and requirement of NEP-2020.
First of all, we need to understand what shortfalls were there in addressing the needs and requirements of a time-tested human resources development in the country. As mentioned in the policy document (in clause no 9.2), these are as follows:
"9.2. Some of the major problems currently faced by the higher education system in India include (a) a severely fragmented higher educational ecosystem; (b) less emphasis on the development of cognitive skills and learning outcomes; (c) a rigid separation of disciplines, with early specialization and streaming of students into narrow areas of study; (d) limited access particularly in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, with few HEIs that teach in local languages; (e) limited teacher and institutional autonomy; (f) inadequate mechanisms for merit-based career management and progression of faculty and institutional leaders; (g) lesser emphasis on research at most universities and colleges, and lack of competitive peer-reviewed research funding across disciplines; (h) sub-optimal governance and leadership of HEIs; (i) an ineffective regulatory system; and (j) large affiliating universities resulting in low standards of undergraduate education".
How the above issues are going to be addressed has been mentioned in clause no 9.3 of the policy document. These are as follows-
"9.3. This policy envisions a complete overhaul and re-energizing of the higher education system to overcome these challenges and thereby deliver high-quality higher education with equity and inclusion. The policy’s vision includes the following key changes to the current system: (a) moving towards a higher educational system consisting of large, multidisciplinary universities and colleges, with at least one in or near every district, and with more HEIs across India that offer medium of instruction or programmes in local/Indian languages; (b) moving towards a more multidisciplinary undergraduate education; (c) moving towards faculty and institutional autonomy; (d) revamping curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and student support for enhanced student experiences; (e) re-affirming the integrity of faculty and institutional leadership positions through merit appointments and career progression based on teaching, research, and service; (f) establishment of a National Research Foundation to fund outstanding peer-reviewed research and to actively seed research in universities and colleges; (g) governance of HEIs by high qualified independent boards having academic and administrative autonomy; (h) 'light but tight' regulation by a single regulator for higher education; (i) increased access, equity, and inclusion through a range of measures, including greater opportunities for outstanding public education; scholarships by private/philanthropic universities for disadvantaged and underprivileged students; online education, and Open Distance Learning (ODL); and all infrastructure and learning materials accessible and available to learners with disabilities’.
Further, it is mentioned in clause no 9.1.2. that – "for the purpose of developing holistic individuals, it is essential that an identified set of skills and values will be incorporated at each stage of learning, from pre-school to higher education".
To meet the above challenges, the existing HEIs will be restructured as follows:
"10.14. University, worldwide, means a multidisciplinary institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D programmes, and engages in high-quality teaching and research. The present complex nomenclature of HEIs in the country, such as ‘deemed to be university’, ‘affiliating university’, ‘affiliating technical university', and ‘unitary university’ shall be replaced simply by 'university' on fulfilling the criteria as per norms.
So, we are optimistic that the NEP-2020-driven new education system will act as a comprehensive game-changer in our country in the coming years and will be able to create an open learning environment for the next generation of learners.
Dr. B. C. Neog