BIRDVIEW OF DRAFT EDUCATION POLICY ON HIGHER EDUCATION

Sudindra V R

The economic development of the Nation and sustainable livelihood is mainly dependent on the quality of education; especially higher education critically contribution appreciated immensely. Higher Education institutes assist the country to develop socially, culturally, scientifically, technologically, artistically and economically. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, increasing the need for skills and employment and contributes to higher education plays a critical role. Higher Education policy has to create quality universities or colleges to enhance well rounded and creative individuals.  Aim of higher education through quality education must address individual personal accomplishment, constructive public engagement, productive societal/community contribution and enlightenment. To achieve the goals, higher education must possess fundamental attributes. The new draft Education policy trying to address the multi-dimensional attributes towards quality education. The highlights of policy discussed in a bird view.
Challenges of the higher education system in India:
1.   Fragmentation of Higher Education system: out of 800 universities with 40000 colleges, most of the institutes provide a single program.  Over 20% of colleges have below 100 student’s enrolments and many colleges don’t have adequate faculties which leads to severe sub-optimality and low quality.
2.  Too many silos: Indian Higher Education institutes bound by rigid boundaries of disciplines which discourage not to opt for multi-disciplinary courses.
3.  Lack of access to higher education in disadvantaged areas: Although higher education reachability improved over the last few decades, equity and quality of education remain a question, due to lack of accessibility in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
4.  Lack of Teacher and Institutional Autonomy:  Many Colleges follow a system of affiliation which discourages scope for innovation in Teaching/Learning and lacks motivation among Teachers and Administrators. 
5.  The inadequate mechanism for career management of faculty: Less or no suitable Career Management systems in Higher Education institutions, due to the obsolescence selection process, tenure, promotion, salary increment, recognition based on seniority than merit and other factors.
6.   Lack of Research quality:  Due to less important to research by college/university, separation of teaching and research institute, no mechanism to seed or mentor research scholars and very little funding availability for novel idea/research.
7.  Suboptimal governance and leadership: Most institutions influenced by individuals and external bodies who have vested Commercial/Political interest
8.   Improper Regulatory system:  It allows fake colleges and constraining innovative colleges
Proposed Key changes?
1.    Multidisciplinary universities and Colleges which enable vibrant student’s communities, break down silos, enable well-rounded development, develop active research and greatly helps in effective utilization of resources.
2.    Liberal Undergraduate education through imaginative and curriculum structure, demolishing current rigid boundaries of University Traditional system.
3.   Faculty and institutional autonomy which enables innovative teaching pedagogy, student assessment, community service initiatives, research and sharing best practices.
4.    Revamp in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and student support which assist in recasting examination system based on curriculum objectives, Outcome-based assessment, and quality in student’s support.
5.   Merit-based appointment and career management to reaffirm faculty position, encourage faculties to think innovatively, manage the professional and career life.
6.    Competitive funding through the National Research foundation in all disciplines.
7.  Merit-based governance by Independent Boards by appointment of Board of Governors, Chancellors of Universities through merits and competent authority and eliminate external interference.
8.    One regulator “Light but tight regulation” which tries to replace existing dual regulation.
How to Achieve the Goal of Quality of Higher Education Institutions?
1.    Restructuring and consolidation of Higher education institutions into three major categories. Type 1 – Research Universities- focus equally on Research and Teaching Facilitating Undergraduate, Masters, Ph.D., Professional and Vocational programs. Type 2 – Teaching Universities –  focus on high-quality Teaching across disciplines and programs. Some of them may become Type I institutions through cutting edge research over some time. Type 3 – Colleges – focus exclusively on Undergraduate program, in addition to Diploma and Certificate programs including vocational and professional courses.
2.    All professional education will be an integral part of higher education. In addition to above restructuring, the policy emphasizes on building national wide Ecosystem with multi-disciplinary courses offering by all University/Colleges. Every multi-disciplinary institutes should include at least two program or majors in arts and humanities, at least two in Science and Mathematics, and at least one social sciences. In the long run, the policy includes professional and vocational programs.
3.    Adequately resourced in terms of Faculty, Staff, Infrastructure, and other facilities.
4.    All Higher Education Institutions gradually move towards full autonomy in Academics, Administrative and eventually Financials.
5.    Integration of one higher education authority and scraping dual Authority which leads to confusion or chaos.
6.    Reaffirming public education commitment towards strong education through Research, Funding, Knowledge base through Accreditation.
7.    The public funding system will be more equitable.  A separate plan for Central and State level in new Institutional Architecture. Phased support for all Type 3 institutions with funding for Research, Teacher training and mentoring. 
8.    Transforming Open and Distance learning through strong and committed new Teaching /Non-Teaching staff.
9.    Phasing out of deemed to be university, affiliating university, unitary to new system of the public, private or private aided, multi-disciplinary research university, or comprehensive teaching universities.
10.    Degree-granting power to all categories of higher institutions through Autonomy and Innovative blended learning models.
11.    Transforming Affiliated universities, all affiliating universities will transform into Type 1 or 2 over some time.
12.       Transforming all affiliating colleges to develop Autonomous Degree-granting Institutes or Merge with university
Reference:
Draft National Education Policy 2019, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India
Disclaimer – The views, opinions and content on this blog are solely those of the authors. ISME does not take responsibility of content, which are plagiarized or not quoted.

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