Maniprabha Singh|Mar 3, 2021
To start new domain, we will need funds, infrastructure: HPNLU VC
Nishtha Jaswal, VC, HPNLU talks about the discussions on NEP 2020, launching new courses and the NLUs generating their own funds.
NEW DELHI: The National Education Policy 2020 suggests converting all standalone single-stream institutions into multidisciplinary universities, teaching and conducting research in a large variety of disciplines. Nishtha Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor of one of the newly-created
National Law Universities, Himachal Pradesh NLU (HPNLU), spoke to Careers360 about the discussions on NEP 2020, launching new courses and the NLUs generating their own funds.
Q. The NEP suggests converting all stand-alone institutions into multi-disciplinary universities. Are the NLUs also moving in that direction?
A. The decision about NLUs will be taken by the Consortium of National Law Universities. As far as the implementation is concerned, a lot of discussion has happened since the NEP was announced. We have specialised institutions like IITs, IIMs [Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management] and so are the NLUs in the field of law. The NLUs do offer courses other than law but connected with the legal field, like social sciences, etc. It is not that being a law university we have a department of mathematics. If something like this happens, I think it will still be connected with the law but with a wider scope.
The NLUs are already offering quality legal education, which even the NEP desires. In fact, the NLUs are offering clinical legal education and we get students from different backgrounds who want to pursue a career in the legal field.
Q. What will be the new domains of knowledge HPNLU might explore?
A. As said earlier, the decision will be taken by the consortium and anything we do would also require the approval of the Bar Council of India. We will see what can be implemented and what cannot and what domains or streams are to be added as the NLUs already offer programmes in the area of management and social sciences. Right now, we offer BBA-LLB. We might look for some similar programmes but everything would depend on creating infrastructure first, as we are in the process of creating infrastructure.
Q. Do the NLUs have enough infrastructure to enrol students from other domains and accommodate them? What are your plans for expansion
A. If we have to move in this direction, we will need a lot of funding and infrastructure. Talking about my university right now, we have only centres. But to offer more programmes in newer areas, we would need to create departments which would require more infrastructure. It would require effective implementation through the regulatory bodies and of course some provision for it in the budget as we would also need to hire good quality faculty. It is also being discussed that we have to generate our own resources and all institutions are not at the same level. The Himachal Pradesh NLU was established in 2016 and our first batch is about to come out so it will take some time for us to build alumni base, brand and everything, and we are committed to that.
Q. How do you look at the multiple entry and exit options NEP 2020 offers in a degree programme? How can the policy be implemented in a law degree?
A. This is a good idea. As the age bar has been removed anyone can join the law course at any age. It is good that if someone who could not continue education for some reason can join back and complete their degree.
Here again, we can have our own regulations but if someone wants to get into litigation and as we know the BCI has very strict regulations in this regard so some regulatory changes from BCI must come to pave way for these changes.
We have to see if someone wants to exit after two years or three years, what qualification he will be given – a BA degree or a certificate. All these decisions will be taken by the BCI.
Q. There has been a growing demand for providing state quotas in NLUs. What is your university doing in this regard?
A. The state quota is part of our Act by which this university has been established so we have been doing it since our inception.
Q. There are also suggestions to have the same level of reservation in NLUs. Do you agree with that, is that being discussed at your institution and is it even feasible?
A. This is not possible unless there is consensus among states on this as some are offering 30 percent, some 15 percent and we have 25 percent seats reserved for state students. We can think of uniformity in other areas like curriculum, syllabus but here we are under the state regulations and have to follow those.
The decision will be taken by the consortium and anything we do would also require the approval of the Bar Council of India. We will see what can be implemented and what cannot and what domains or streams are to be added as the NLUs still offer programmes in the area of management and social sciences.
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