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Team Careers360|Dec 4, 2023
NEW DELHI: With several educational reforms now in the implementation phase, a Parliamentary panel has pointed out issues related to execution of the New Education Policy (NEP 2020) and measures to speed up the process. The panel expressed concern that multiple entry and multiple exit systems might not function in "highly populated India".
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Thakur, said in its report the current capacities of faculty “does not gel” with the requirements of implementing multidisciplinary education. The report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the special session of Parliament.
Highlighting the hurdles in implementing multidisciplinary education, the panel observed that in cases where higher education institutions are able to devise a multidisciplinary curriculum, the evaluation system is likely to emerge as a problem area.
On aligning learning material, particularly textbooks for multidisciplinary education, the report said: “It is a big task, and institutions are not equipped to augment such skills. The current capacities of faculty do not gel well with the requirements stated above.” As per NEP 2020, all higher education institutions are required to transform into multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students by 2040.
On the multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) option for students, the report highlighted the issues in implementation due to “high population” and difficulty in tracking the “in-and-out traffic” in the formal education system. The report also pointed out the underpreparedness of educational institutions, especially in rural areas. “Uneven geographical distribution of higher education institutions would create hurdles in managing MEME in several areas, mostly the countryside,” the report said.
Among other reforms, the implementation of the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) has progressed with a total of 674 universities on board. Around 46 lakh students have been registered on the platform, the report stated. There are 1,043 universities in the country at present.
For a “substantive evolution and successful implementation”, the panel suggested incorporation of student feedback. “The committee is of the view that proper involvement of the student community, incorporation of their feedback, and suggestions towards the changes proposed in NEP will help institutions in orienting students faster and in a more effective way. It will also be helpful in creating institutional mechanisms to handle student’s queries on issues such as Academic Bank of Credits (ABC), Multiple Entry and Exit system, and generate beneficial results in terms of acceptance and smoother implementation.” The University Grants Commission (UGC) has held rounds of consultation with universities on the implementation of NEP-based reforms.
The committee further recommended “harnessing the power of modern cloud based technologies with amalgamation of data” in the higher education institutions. To ensure the availability of digital infrastructure, the panel advised the ministry to set up a monitoring group to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current technological infrastructure and identify gaps in higher education institutes.
“The Committee notes that addressing the issue of technological readiness and digital infrastructure is necessary for complying with the NEP 2020's requirements related to credit transfer, multidisciplinary learning, and ensuring inclusive education, especially for differently-abled children,” it stated.
While the funding for the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has diminished to a zero over the past three years, the panel suggested “reviewing and adjusting the interest rates on loans” to make them more competitive and affordable for institutions, especially for those facing financial challenges.
The panel also recommended HEFA to explore diversifying of funding resources beyond government allocations. Partnerships with private sector organisations, philanthropic foundations, and international financial institutions to increase the available funds are some of the suggestions made by the panel.
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