NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY (2020): A MUCH-NEEDED INTERVENTION IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Published On : 19th April, 2021
The National Education Policy 2020 heralds a new era for education in India. We often have seen that while India has been moving ahead, education policy (not to be mistaken for educational institutions) was lacking the dexterity of the times that are changing so fast.
Many venerable experts produced volumes of reports before this policy was announced. All these reports came, ignited hope and then received a silent burial. This one survived the silent treatment and has been now announced once again raising a lot of hopes.
The need was ever felt, especially since the fault lines started appearing in the industrial work experience and the limitations of the workforce involved. Students have themselves been complaining about the lack of individualized tutelage and a rigid focus on grades and marks obtained. As we’re heading towards an era where big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence might challenge the new jobs being created, it becomes pivotal that we put the focus on building skilled learners who can adapt to the rising changes. The growing concerns around climate change, sustainable growth and epidemics will be confronted by the leaders of tomorrow for a better future and it is only possible when the educational machinery is equipped with the required tools.
As we are heading towards a post-pandemic era where we will confront newer challenges, we will need leaders and free thinkers. The National Education Policy (2020) opens up new boundaries which were hitherto absent in the policy. The efficacy of any educational change is determined by the investments made now and how such changes are implemented. The question that remains as of now is how well the administrators of accrediting institutions will foresee the changes required as mandated by the new education policy. Will they be able to rationalize the new policy with new parameters, metrics and benchmarks or they will continue to use the old system to measure the new one.
NEP 2020 brings structural changes to the system by opening up multiple possibilities in higher education by dissolving the strictly demarcated degrees with specializations. Students will have much more access to various intersections of courses and hence a more robust and market-driven under-graduate degree. The four-year degree is introduced. India’s informal industry runs on unskilled labour who due to unfortunate social problems remain amiss of any formal trade training. The multiple exit points provide for proper training of the students, making them ready for the industry or their own ventures. A special focus has been put on experiential learning and critical thinking, which not only helps the industry but enhances the overall growth of the individual along with everyone involved. One of the major tenets of the NEP (2020) is the focus on the multidisciplinary nature of education for the future. Students have been provided with the choice to opt for various interdisciplinary courses. At such a time when the entrepreneurial spirit has been all-time high, students must be provided with the toolkit which helps them sail across various hurdles. An interdisciplinary education will help not only entrepreneurs but the industry as well.
I am happy to use this space to emphasize that ADYPU has been following many of the NEP prescriptions in its system right since inception. We have a robust credit based system which allows true flexibility to students to choose their program direction, individualize their learning paths. Students can choose courses from across the nine schools of the university, students can design their own course sequence, students can have a wide variety of choices to learn what they wish through general education courses. We have been putting the controls of teaching in the hand of the faculty, monitoring it from the other end, but essentially ensuring faculty independence in designing teaching, learning and assessment. The choice of credits allows for multidisciplinarity. The assessments have always been based on continuous evaluation and are moving towards outcome assessment rather than subject matter absorption by the students.
The 25% credits for general education ensure the liberal foundation in the students and prepares them for becoming T-Shaped people with the depth of learning and the width of life experiences and enabling them to become well rounded. Students are allowed to negotiate courses, assessments, there’s consent process for assessment ensuring fair assessment and the real feedback system.
Topic centred activities and clubs organized by students and supported by faculties allow for more exploration and fosters a culture of innovation. Curriculums are based on Internationally accepted standards. Several collaborations with universities across the world, presence of international students on the campus creates diversity and affords a global perspective.
The targets set by the policy are insightful and enterprising but will need constant scrutiny; as is the case with most policies. The efforts to reinvigorate the education machinery is much needed and constant participation by all the stakeholders involved is imperative. Such a promising foresight will eventually depend a lot on the accrediting institutions and corresponding reforms in their methods. Needless to say, ADYPU and hundreds of other educational institutions in our country are already quite ahead …