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Explained: How higher education can be flexible

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4 min read
  1. With a view to a) revamp the higher education system in India, b) create world-class multidisciplinary higher education institutions across the country, and c) increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to at least 50% by 2035; the Draft National Education Policy (NEP) has put forward  arrange of recommendations.
  2. The draft policy has advocated breaking the “rigid boundaries of disciplines” in higher education and moving towards broad-based, flexible learning. To achieve this, it has recommended that institutions offering single streams (such as technical education) should be phased out, and all universities and colleges should aim to become multidisciplinary by 2030.
  3. The draft policy has mooted for reintroduction of the four-year undergraduate programme in Liberal Arts Science Education (LASE) with multiple exit options, and scrapping of the MPhil programme. It has also proposed establishing a small number of new liberal arts universities, modelled after Ivy League schools of USA, in the next five years.
  4. The NEP has recommended an increase in the number of off-shore campuses of Indian institutions. Further, it has proposed to permit the world’s top 200 institutions to set up branches in India, with a new law to regulate the latter’s entry and operation.
  5. The draft policy has recommended that a National Research Foundation (NRF) should be established. NRF will be mandated with creating a conducive ecosystem for research through funding and mentoring. The proposed NRF should be set up by an Act of Parliament as an autonomous institution and with an annual grant of Rs 20,000 crore.
  6. The draft has further proposed a common regulatory regime for the entire higher education sector. Further regulation, provision of education, funding, accreditation and standard setting should be separated, and not be performed by the same institution or institutional hierarchy.
  7. It has also proposed a setting up a National Education Technology Forum. This will be a group of education leaders and government officials who will discuss and advise on how to strengthen educational technology, and Centres of Excellence in Educational Technology in prominent institutions.

The draft has also provided guidelines for teacher’s education. It has recommended that the four- year integrated BEd. should, by 2030, become the minimal degree qualification for school teachers. Further, all pre-service teacher education programmes will be offered only in multidisciplinary institutions.

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