The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the New Education Policy (NEP). One of the major decisions is to rename the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) as the Ministry of Education.
“Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval to new education policy for the 21st century. It is important, as for 34 years there were no changes in the education policy,” said I&B Minister Prakash Javedkar.
The new policy is set to revamp the system such that India becomes a world class education provider. In this article we will focus on the higher education part of the policy.
New Education Policy for higher education : Highlights
- Increase GER to 50% by 2035: NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035.
- Integrated Multidisciplinary Education: The policy introduces broad-based, multi-disciplinary, integrated undergraduate education with flexible curriculum,
- creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
- An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different institutes so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.
- Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), equating with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
- The National Research Foundation will be created as a body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- Regulation: Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- Rationalised Institutional Architecture: The definition of the university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive universities to teaching-intensive universities and autonomous degree-granting colleges. Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
- Financial support for students: Efforts will be made to incentivise the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
- Open and Distance Learning: This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER. Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc, will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.
- Online and Digital Education: A dedicated unit for the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.
- Technology in Education: An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education will be done.
- Promotion of Indian Languages: To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI), National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in HEIs, and use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes.
- Professional Education: All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system. Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.