Specifics of National Education Policy 2020

NEP 2020 replaced the education policy in place since 1986, and recommended a major overhaul of India’s education system at all levels from school to higher education. Over the past two years, the government has announced various reforms, from introducing a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate admissions to offering multiple entry-exit options, to opening the doors to foreign universities in India online A major push for education, many of which has started to take shape at the grassroots level.

The rationalization exercise was done recently to reduce the burden of students in view of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The textbooks are yet to be changed in line with the NEP.

Common University Entrance Test or CUET

The government last year introduced a common entrance test at both the undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) levels. The computer-based test is conducted by the National Testing Agency, an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Education. The idea was to provide “equal opportunities” to the students of education boards and reduce their burden of appearing for multiple entrance examinations.

A section of teachers opposed this as they felt that the Class 12 exams would become irrelevant as they would play no role in admission of students to colleges. They are also of the view that universities will lose their autonomy to decide their own admission criteria.

While CUET-UG is compulsory for all Central Universities, it is optional for State, Private and Deemed Universities. CUET-PG is currently optional for Central Universities.

The first edition of CUET-UG was marred by technical glitches but the number of participating universities increased to 242 from last year’s 90. The number of applications also increased by 41%.

Delhi University (DU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Yogesh Singh said, “The Common Entrance Test has ensured equal access to enrollment of candidates from different disciplines, examination boards, regions and demographics across the country.”

While the university adopted CUET-UG last year, it has decided to consider CUET-PG scores for admission to all postgraduate courses from the academic year 2023-24.

Multiple entry-exit for four year program

NEP 2020 advocated four-year undergraduate programs and allowed multiple entry and exit. Students can exit after completing one year of undergraduate program with certificate, or after two years with diploma, or after three years with bachelor’s degree, or after four years with honors/research degree .

Last December, the University Grants Commission (UGC), which is the regulator of higher education institutions in the country, released the final guidelines and directed universities to adopt them. Several institutions including Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have already adopted the programme. Actually, DU was admitted under the four-year program of 2022-23 batch only.

UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said the four-year undergraduate programs allowed students to develop competence in multiple subjects, focusing on major and minor subjects of their choice. “Multiple entry and exit provide the much needed flexibility and proper exit option to learners who may have discontinued their studies at different stages and wish to re-enter to continue higher level education,” he said.

Meanwhile, several faculty members have called this a “dilution” of the graduate degree.

“Students will spend three semesters studying a number of general courses and study the core discipline only in semesters IV, V and VI. The final year is to be spent mainly on research. Honors will massively dilute undergraduate courses in comparison. Besides, it increases the time and cost involved in getting a bachelor’s degree,” said Abha Dev Habib, an associate professor at DU’s Miranda House College.

With the high unemployment rate even for students with college degrees, many educationists raise doubts about the employability of students who exit the stream of education with only a diploma or certificate. Instead, the focus should have been on ensuring more technical educational opportunities.

The UGC has also permitted students to pursue two full-time, same-level, degree programs simultaneously. Two programs selected by the students at the same time should be of the same level. For example, they can do only two undergraduate or two postgraduate, or two diploma degrees simultaneously. They can either do one course offline and the other online, or both offline or both courses online or in distance mode.

an abc platform

To enable multiple entry and exit, NEP 2020 advocated bringing all accredited Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) under the ambit of Academic Bank of Credit (ABC), which enables students to switch between institutions, as well as programs will be allowed to enter or exit. as they deem fit.

ABC is a digital repository of earned credits: students can choose to study a course at one institution one year and switch to another the following year. The framework also allows students to take online courses and earn credits. If students want to exit after a year or two of their undergraduate program, their earned credits will be safe in their ABC account, and they can continue from there if they want to resume their studies later.

According to ABC’s official website, so far 1,201 higher education institutions have registered for the ABC platform and 8.5 million ABC IDs have been created.

national debt framework

The UGC on April 11 released the country’s first National Credit Framework (NCRF) to integrate credits earned through school education, higher education and vocational and skill education. While a credit-based framework already exists in technical and higher education, it aims to include school and vocational education. The idea is to give credit based on hours of learning from class 5 to PhD level. NCRF will be operated through Academic Bank of Credits. The total learning hours per credit will be 30.

The framework also allows for “credit” to be given to each learning, which is subject to its assessment. This means that credits can be earned through Classroom Teaching/Learning, Laboratory Work, Innovation Labs, Sports & Games, Yoga, Physical Activities, Performing Arts, Music, Handicraft Work, Social Work, NCC, etc. It also allows students to earn credits from their expertise in various aspects of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS), including the Vedas and Puranas.

professor of practice

UGC has asked all universities and colleges to appoint professors of practice – industry experts and professionals to develop linkages between HEIs and industry. As per the guidelines, the deserving persons include distinguished experts, who made notable contribution to their profession from various fields such as Engineering, Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Commerce, Social Sciences, Media, Literature, Fine Arts, Civil Services, Armed Forces, Legal Is. profession and public administration among others.

online education

In September last year, the UGC issued guidelines recommending all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in India to transform themselves into multidisciplinary institutions. It also proposed to allow all affiliated colleges to become degree-awarding multidisciplinary autonomous institutions by 2035. For this, the UGC amended the norms for online and open learning to allow autonomous colleges in India to offer online and distance education programs from 2022 – 23 academic sessions without prior permission. The revised norms will also allow them to hire education technology firms to develop content and assessment systems.

The UGC chairperson said, “Students can now take up to 40% of their total credits online and through ODL platforms such as the government’s SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds).”

Revision of PhD Admission Criteria

The UGC issued the revised “Minimum Standards and Procedure for the Award of Ph.D.”. Degree, Regulations, 2022” in November last year.

Under the new rules, the eligibility criteria have been revised following the discontinuation of MPhil degree as recommended by NEP 2020 and the introduction of four-year undergraduate programmes. Now candidates with four year undergraduate degree with research with minimum 7.5 CGPA will be eligible for admission to PhD programs along with first and second year postgraduate students (after completing the four year programme). In addition, candidates who are pursuing or have already completed MPhil will continue to be eligible to take admission in PhD programmes.

The new norms have also removed the mandatory requirement of publishing research papers in peer-reviewed journals in order to submit a PhD thesis – something that academicians argue will compromise the standard of research in India.

In January, JNU adopted new rules for research courses and did away with the requirement of publications before awarding PhD degrees. Other universities will adopt the new norms from this academic session.

international university

NEP 2020 included new guidelines for academic collaboration between Indian and foreign universities, opening doors for foreign universities to set up campuses in India, and allowing top Indian higher education institutions to set up their campuses abroad Was.

According to UGC officials, so far at least 49 universities across the world have started talks with their Indian counterparts and some of them have started the process of awarding joint or dual degrees.

Two Australian universities – the University of Wollongong and Deakin University – will soon set up campuses in Gujarat’s International Finance Tech-City or GIFT City. Deakin University has already signed an MoU with the Government of India, and the campus is likely to be functional by July 2024.

The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi or IIT-D is in the process of setting up a campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and will be the first Indian higher education institution to set up a campus abroad. Its Abu Dhabi campus is expected to be operational by August-September 2024.

“The UGC has enabled Indian universities to award twin, joint and double degrees with foreign universities. The establishment of the International Affairs Office in the HEI is a single point of contact to facilitate international students,” said Chairman Kumar.

Meanwhile, the UGC will soon issue final guidelines for foreign universities to set up campuses in India other than GIFT City. It will also issue separate guidelines for Indian universities under its jurisdiction to set up campuses abroad.

“Indian Knowledge System”

In line with NEP 2020, which advocated for making high-quality higher education available in regional or Indian languages, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has allowed its affiliated colleges to start engineering and other technical courses in regional languages. Gave. So far around 40 engineering colleges have started courses in 12 languages. The Council has also translated the course material into these languages ​​for this.

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