New Delhi, July 29
A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of MPhil programmes, low stakes board exams, common entrance exams for universities are among the highlights of the new National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
The old policy was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992 and had not been revised since then.
The Cabinet also approved changing the name of the HRD Ministry to Education Ministry.
“NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 pc (2018) to 50 pc by 2035. At least 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions,” HRD Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said at a press briefing.
“The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. Under Graduate education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period,” he said.
Elaborating on the reforms in school education, HRD Secretary Anita Karwal said: “Board exams will be low stake. The focus will be on testing concepts and knowledge application. Home language, mother tongue or regional language to be medium of instruction up to Class 5”.
She further said “school curriculum will be reduced to core concepts and there will be integration of vocational education from Class 6”.
Flexible degree courses, single higher education regulator, common norms for public & pvt colleges
Choice between 3 or 4 year undergraduate courses, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, adding 3.5 crore seats in higher education institutions which will now have a single regulator, discontinuation of MPhil programmes and fixation of fees are among reforms for higher education reforms.
Elaborating on the reforms, HRD Secretary Amit Khare said at a press briefing the policy aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 pc (2018) to 50 pc by 2035 and 3.5 crore new seats will be added to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications---a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor's degree after a 3-year programme.
"The 4-year multidisciplinary bachelor's programme shall be the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the student," Khare said.
As per the new policy, the system of affiliation will be phased out over 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism for granting graded autonomy to colleges, through a transparent system of graded accreditation, will be established.
Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an autonomous degree-granting college, or a constituent college of a university.
The policy has called for a single higher education regulator called Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). However, medical and legal colleges will be kept out of its purview.
Among the key reforms in the policy are common entrance exam for admissions to universities and colleges to be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), discontinuation of MPhil programmes, common norms to be in place for private and public higher education institutions and fee fixation under a broad regulatory framework.
To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP has recommended 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 of mother tongue or local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes.
"An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, will be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
"The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
Internationalisation of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations, and student and faculty mobility and allowing entry of top world-ranked Universities to open campuses in our country," Khare said.
The new education policy was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto ahead of the 2014 general election.
In May 2016, a ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy’ under the chairmanship of TSR Subramanian, former cabinet secretary, submitted its report. Based on this, the Ministry prepared a document called ‘Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.
Then, a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ when he took charge last year.
The draft was then put in the public domain to seek feedback from various stakeholders and over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD Ministry about the same. PTI
Higher education reforms
--- Graded Autonomy
--- Single regulator for higher education. All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, to be governed by single regulator
--- Increase in Public Spending up to 6 per cent on education
--- Use of Technology in Education, teaching administration and regulation
--- Focus on e-ducation in eight major regional languages
--- Common norms to be in place for private and public higher education institutions
--- MPhil courses to be discontinued under new National Education Policy
--- Common entrance exams to be held for admission to universities, higher education institutions
--- National Mission on Foundational Education
--- Board exams to be based on knowledge application.
--- Home language, mother tongue or regional language to be medium of instruction up to Class 5
--- School curriculum to be reduced to core concepts; integration of vocational education from Class 6 --- With agencies
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