A reality check for higher education dreams

Synopsis: The proposed academic bank of credits, multiple entry-exit options will require infrastructure, manpower and budget that the Indian education system simply does not possess

Introduction

The article highlights the changes that are required in National Education Policy (NEP) to make our present education system more effective.

What are the observations of the National Education Policy (NEP)?

NEP observes that the education delivery system in India is too structured, rigid and expensive. The main reasons for student’s dropout are lack of relevance, inability to sustain interest and affordability.

Read more: National Education Policy
How this could be removed?

The government released the following initiatives to remove the student dropout.

Academic Bank of Credits: It adopts an interdisciplinary approach and provides a flexible curriculum framework.

Read more: PM to roll out academic credit bank

Multiple Entry and Exit: It facilitates students to choose their learning path to their respective degrees with multiple entry-multiple exit options.

What are the lacunae in the system?

Select the courses:  It would be difficult for young students to select the best courses or combination of courses which will be beneficial for their future. Even if the student opts for the best courses, the control of the degree rests solely with UGC (University Grants Commission).

Flexibility:  Students have little flexibility in choosing the subjects of their choice as 50 percent of the curriculum is carried out within the degree-granting institute.

A similar concept of a “Meta University” was attempted in 2012. This project failed to take off despite a UGC regulation, due to the reluctance and ego hassles of the heads of institutions.

Multiple Entry/Exit: Although it is a great concept but difficult to implement. If a student chooses to drop a year or two into a degree programme, the issue of his employability remains unresolved.

Limited Courses: There is a limited course available on the portals like SWAYAM, NPTEL, V-Lab, etc, for credit transfer and credit accumulation. This defeats the purpose of offering quality education to everyone.

 Read more: Students can now get 40% of university credits from e-courses

Use of technology: Technology and proper infrastructure is required to authenticate and store digital records in a distributed system.

As our present academic is already struggling in fulfilling demands like providing migration certificates from one university to another, giving transcripts etc. there is a need to upgrade the system.

Budgetary allocations: Huge budgetary allocations are required in terms of improving the teacher-student ratio from the present 1:30 to 1:5. Along with manpower, funds are required for the IT infrastructure for various activities like record maintenance, transfer of credits, credit assessment and others.

What needs to be done?

To achieve the objectives of NEP, there is a need for holistic development with the help of various stakeholders like teachers, non-faculty and others. It is time we implement the concept of Virtual University, where universities and other institutions in India become collaborators, creating their own or sourcing content from SWAYAM, EdX other similar providers.

Source: This post is based on the article “A reality check for higher education dreams” published in the Indian Express on 9th September 2021.

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