The average Indian student is more focused on choosing a career-oriented but satisfying appetite for learning. This trend is reflected in the number of graduates who choose to change their career path.
The nation often debates and mocks the efficiency of the education system which fails to keep pace with the times and fill the gaps in the industry. The Second National Education Policy was formulated in 1986, almost two decades after the first National Policy was drafted by Independent India. In 1992, the same policy was adopted with a few changes. The initiative to implement structural changes in the education system that has governed our nation for centuries has been around for a long time, especially as the global landscape of education is rapidly changing. Ideally, education policy should have come in the early 2000’s, when India began to evolve and recently opened up to other parts of the world, with a fresh start. The emergence of a whole new generation that we call the millennium. It was time for our education policy to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the economy. Our education, its structure, purpose and expectations, was stuck in the 80s and NEP has now come as a promising sign of revival. The new education policy, in the beginning, seeks to address some of the structural changes required in a highly complex educational environment like ours.
The financial empowerment provided by the post-liberalization services sector has increased the creative independence of the average student. In the past, the education system was driven by fear of employment opportunities and failure. Now the lens has changed. The average Indian student is more focused on choosing a career-oriented but satisfying appetite for learning. This trend reflects the growing demand for humanities and the arts. The trend is also reflected in the number of graduates who choose to change their career path. The primary objective of NEP is to arouse that empathy and sympathy among the students towards building an inclusive and pluralistic society. Hopefully, NEP’s efforts in this regard will not be limited to window dressing.
The result of combined inputs from the NEP academic world
NEP is the result of the combined input of many stakeholders. I was part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Conclave two years ago. The government invited all of us from across the country to discuss the draft, and a full two-day conference was held there. The process was involved, and input was taken to give enough space for criticism, and the NEP was the result of those two days of conclave.
So, the initial response is that it is a good policy document. It provides a comprehensive guide for universities to incorporate and change their curriculum accordingly. It brings in the much-needed multi-disciplinary approach to education, advocating for liberal education, emphasizing vocational and experiential learning and enabling students to have a lot of flexibility in their learning process; Consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals. But then the devil is the approach that universities follow to prepare draft guidelines. Of all the states, Karnataka was the first to come up with a draft structure for the implementation of colleges and universities.
Offers flexibility to earn your degree
The second part is how it has the potential to change the education system. Basically, it provides a lot of flexibility in learning. Earlier we were bound by the board system and the standard of education was basically determined by the 10th and 12th scores. At the college level, if you miss studying for a year or more, the whole 3 odd years of learning will be nothing. However, now, like developed countries like America, NEP initiatives emphasize the credit-based system, where you earn credit and trade those credits for a diploma or degree. This is a good thing because it allows students to take breaks. It gives students the flexibility to experiment with their career track and education. It does not bind one to the traditional academic system. For example, an athlete who has had the opportunity to participate in the Olympics, or an entrepreneur who wants to work on his ideas, or another person who wants to work in the media, can experiment with relevant opportunities after the 12th and go out. College system. Also, a lot of the time, unfortunately, girls in our country get married early and drop out of school in the middle. And it becomes difficult for them to be part of the academic path after a few years. The new education policy being credit-based enables them to return to their education.
Much emphasis on skill-based vocational courses
Traditionally undergraduate curricula have never focused on skills, they were knowledge-based and provided a framework for maintaining system balance between the three pillars of NEP education; Knowing, doing and being. Skill-based vocational courses allow students to take specific skill-based courses and provide the conditions for real-life projects and internships. This is the key to bridging the gap between the skills of graduates in this country and provides opportunities for career adaptation.
NEP allows students to take specialized courses in coding, analytics, digital and other subjects to help them become industry-ready. It is important to create a large percentage of the population who are employable and do not take a degree just to have a stay. Students will benefit from modularity by exploring skills learning opportunities, choosing internships, and engaging in industry and choosing vocational courses that ultimately lead them to their career track. SDG 4.4 emphasizes a significant increase in the number of young people and adults who have relevant skills, including employment, suitable jobs and relevant technical and vocational skills for entrepreneurship.
Universities will have a long-term roadmap for NEP implementation
Universities need to use this opportunity to revisit the traditional three-year structure for students and ensure that after the currently proposed 4 years, students do not rush into the postgraduate degree program. This increases the risk of creating a very poor quality masters program which results in a lack of potential even in the opportunistic market. This is a lifetime opportunity to make the undergraduate program very strong and skill-oriented to connect with the needs of the industry. A recent survey by the Statista Research Department found that by 2020, the share of employable talent across India would be around 46 per cent. Even then, while less than half of the country’s talent is considered suitable for employment, it does not reflect a positive outlook on education and employment in the country. The youth unemployment rate in India has been around 22% for the last one decade. The current pool of graduates needs to be trained by the industry itself or enrolled for a specific skills-based course. For example, our RV Skills Program: a 16-year-old semi-academic organization created by RV, trains engineers with lab, theoretical and practical elements provided by design, IT, automation and other specialists. This is a six month program where people are waiting for us to be admitted / selected. Many engineers in Tier-2/3 colleges do not get the kind of recruitment that students acquire RV skills after 6 months diploma even after 4 years degree. It says engineering colleges are not doing enough to prepare their graduates for the current needs of the industry. NEP allows institutions to go beyond the current curriculum framework and add a lot of industry-related courses, engage the industry to come on board, co-create, collaborate and co-distribute courses.
NEP will open up opportunities for collaboration between industry and academia from the undergraduate level. This change is now coming to the school level, so that students will gain enough skills and exposure in addition to studying, so that after 12th they can work in a certain industry for some time and then return to the education system. NEP offers mixed education which is very important and for students to take various skills and courses from India or internationally acclaimed online education courses. It makes education meaningful, engaging and action-oriented. Therefore, in order to bring overall change in the education environment of the country, educational institutions, policy makers, school administrators and boards have to gradually implement new education policies.
Above all, the NEP should remove the barrier between art and science in terms of social dignity. Industrial and employment opportunities should never determine the type of education in a country. If we give that opportunity to the industry, it will lead the society towards a slanted and narrow path. The task of policy makers is to carefully apply a multi-structured approach to setting the direction of the compass. These elements include constitutional values, economic growth, living skills, and so on. NEP maintains a balance between the needs of society and industry. NEP is an active surveillance agency to prevent any possible social collapse. To put it more simply, NEP has made a number of courses mandatory for students to develop abilities that promote well-being, psychosocial well-being, and morality.
Further, NEP aims to break down barriers between vocational and mainstream education. Periodically vocational education exposure helps to overcome the social status hierarchy associated with it. This exposure frees a student from choosing a path that is common in the society.
Students should be seen as different people who are trying to reach their destination through different tunnels. The goal of each student is to reach the end of their tunnel. The time they take to reach the end of the tunnel cannot be considered a measure of success because each student takes their own tunnel and the conditions of travel in the tunnel may be different for everyone. The only way to measure success is when they end their journey through the same tunnel, which is virtually impossible. Some students study with the intention of becoming top researchers. Some want to contribute to the corporate with their enterprising DNA mark. Will rarely worry about social values. Other sections will try to address their learning appetite. The job of the NEP is not to limit the number of tunnels but to refrain from any of the above biases and to facilitate the movement of students through these tunnels. A student had no choice in the past to regret his decision choice. The new structure has provided ample opportunity for smooth transition to break points. NEP aims to enable all higher education institutions (HEIs) to become multidisciplinary through large student enrollments. The primary condition for excellence in innovation is an ecosystem that enables it to receive input from multiple branches.