Implementation of National Education Policy in Higher Educational Institutions
NEP-2020 has been a transformative reform and a very positive step towards nation building, a roadmap for knowledge transformation into value addition for economic growth and academic excellence among learners. It aims to armor the leaners with 21st century skills and innovation, critical problem solving, enhancing creativity and digital literacy on one hand and enlightening the learners with ancient Indian knowledge and cultural heritage. On the other hand Implementing NEP-2020 in its true sprit has been the top priority of every Higher Education institute and some has systematically started implementation of various aspects in a phased manner.
University Grant Commission (UGC) in concurrence with Ministry of Education has taken several steps to implement national Education Policy -2020 in higher education. Some of the most discussed dimensions are Academic bank of Credits (ABC) with multiple entry-exit system, multidisciplinary and holistic 4 year degree program providing interdisciplinary and or multidisciplinary academic mobility of students across higher education institution in the country.
Implementation of NEP-2020 essentially means providing qualitative higher education to learners in a multidisciplinary eco-system and in a holistic manner as envisioned in NEP-2020. Thus, personal enlightenment, societal engagement and enhancing learner’s capacities and capabilities enabling knowledge transformation through value addition into economic growth have been the basic targets. The basic target while implementing NEP-2020 remains that learners are equipped with skills relevant for global and national standards and creating an eco-system that provides enhancing opportunities for learners.
The marathon debate on how to institutionalize the outcome oriented higher education has resulted into learning outcome-based curriculum planning and development. The LOCF’s of UGC need to be modified to align with NEP-2020. Accordingly, learners will be assessed on the basis of demonstrative achievements in knowledge domain, understanding developed, inculcating problem-solving attitude, building values, skills and evolving innovative approach. Strategies include the use of technology for integrating teaching-learning processes, enhancing reach through MOOCs/ODL as well as developing quality content for ODL/MOOC.
Inter-disciplinary areas need to be identified and multidisciplinary eco-system has been developed through LOCF based under graduate program. In GGV, LOCF have also been implemented in all UG and professional programmes by mapping the Course Curricula with learning outcomes. All UG programmes have been restructured for multidisciplinary options and the Curriculum of all PG programmes have been revised to incorporate outcome based Curriculum Objectives (COs), Program Objectives (POs) and Program Specific Objectives PSOs. 23% of the syllabi of UG programmes and 34% of the syllabi of PG programmes have been targeted for experiential learning components.
In order to design and implement such 04 years degree programs with exit options requires many structural changes as well as assimilation and integration of academic institutions, industries, society at large and continuous enhancement in the capabilities of teachers. The first and foremost challenge is the creation of baskets of courses for first three semesters in eight semester degree programs. These are essential for providing holistic learning to the students and must be balanced in approach and content to effectively cover the different dimensions of skills. Developing literature, e-content, videos and books for such baskets is another important task that is to be taken up by the teachers. Third point is synchronous development of teachers’ capacity and capability to effectively implement the new structures in blended mode of learning, adopting new types of assessment methods and imparting innovative skill through technology enabled learning. Enhancing the experiential learning opportunities, improving communication skills and providing real life experience to learner is the next level of challenge.
The four-year multidisciplinary under-graduate program with multiple entry-exit option and credit transfer through Academic bank of credit (ABC) facility and later on implementing post-graduate programs with such entry-exit options is the fundamental transformation in curricular design, pedagogy, assessment and mindset.
The student-centric ABC would be ideal for many who at present feel a deprivation in academic freedom or the inability to juggle between courses and credits along with a desire to doddle with different educational institution. The academic bank of credits shall deposit credits awarded by Registered Higher Education Institution, for courses pursued therein, in the academic bank account of the student and the validity of such credits shall be as per norms and guidelines issued by the commission from time to time. Important aspect of ABC is that the credits obtained by the students by undergoing Skill courses from registered higher education institutions offering vocational degree or diploma or PG Diploma or Certificate programmes are also eligible for accrual and redemption of credits through the academic bank of credits.
A student can be enrolled for a programme in one institution (awarding institution) and simultaneously be enrolled for courses of her/his choice in multiple institutions (Registered HEI) for earning credits in the physical and/or online mode. This ensures an enhanced integration of institutions for conducting academic activities and facilitates lifelong learning opportunities. An added advantage is that the learners have the option to either learn formally and/or informally in full-time and/or part-time modes, and go for any credit course (theory/practical/project etc), excepting the core courses.
Learners’ experience has been enriched through Inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, NSS/NCC, Yoga, sports and Bharat Bodh courses in UG curriculum. Similarly Open electives from other Schools of Studies are introduced in all PG Programs. In addition provisions for mandatory internship in all programs are made. To impart qualitative 21st century skills to Arts, Social Sc and Commerce students several value added courses launched for UG programs. This includes innovative courses from ancient Indian knowledge including Physics from Vaishesik, History of Indian Mathematics, Bhagvat Gita and Rasa Vidya.
Imparting such multidisciplinary education with ample flexibility is not only a structural change, it demands appropriate learning outcomes and level descriptor skill possessions to be developed in the learners. This also needs consistent and careful monitoring and review of the model. However, as we have proved time and again, challenge converts into opportunity, so will be this transformation taking India to the height and position of Vishwa Guru.
By Dr. Alok Chakrawal