The New Education Policy (NEP) policy approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday is set to bring a slew of major changes including allowing top foreign universities to set up campuses to India, a greater proportion of students getting vocational education and a move towards institutes including IITs turning multi-disciplinary.
The policy aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
One of the stated aims of the policy is to instill a “deep-rooted pride” in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being.
The policy also aims at “light but tight” regulation by a single regulator for higher education as well as o increased access, equity, and inclusion.
The NEP lays down that by 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students. There shall, by 2030, be at least one large multidisciplinary institution in or near every district.
The aim will be to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% to 50% by 2035.
Single-stream higher education institutions will be phased out over time, and all will move towards becoming multidisciplinary. The system of ‘affiliated colleges’ will be gradually phased out in 15 years.
The present complex nomenclature of HEIs in the country such as ‘deemed to be university’, ‘affiliating university’, ‘affiliating technical university’, ‘unitary university’ shall be replaced simply by ‘university’.
A university will mean a multidisciplinary institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programmes, with high quality teaching, research, and community engagement. The definition will allow a spectrum of institutions ranging from those that place equal emphasis on teaching and research i.e., Research-intensive Universities to teaching-intensive Universities.
The present nomenclature such as ‘deemed to be university’, ‘affiliating university’, ‘affiliating technical university’, ‘unitary university’ will be done away with.
• Even engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities. Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science.
• Departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, etc. will be established and strengthened at all HEIs.
• The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options. For instance a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option.
• An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned.
• The 4-year programme may also lead to a degree ‘with Research’ if the student completes a rigorous research project.
Model public universities for holistic and multidisciplinary education, at par with IITs, IIMs, etc., called MERUs (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities) will be set up
• Higher education institutions shall move away from high-stakes examinations towards continuous and comprehensive evaluation.
• India will be promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs. An International Students Office at each institution hosting foreign students will be set up.
• High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries. Selected universities like those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.
• A legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.
• In every education institution, there shall be counselling systems for handling stress and emotional adjustments.
• Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs..
• Vocational education will be integrated into all school and higher education institutions in a phased manner over the next decade. By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education.
• The B.Voc. degrees introduced in 2013 will continue to exist, but vocational courses will also be available to students enrolled in all other Bachelor’s degree programmes, including the 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programmes.
• ‘Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students. The HRD ministry, which could be renamed education ministry, would constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE
• The policy also speaks for creating a National Research Foundation (NRF).
• The policy also mentions the creation of a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).