www.aninews.in | August 12, 2020
By 2030, one large multidisciplinary college in every district - this was a headline that one could not miss when the National Education Policy 2020 was announced. The headline encapsulates the bold reforms that will be implemented in the Indian education and higher education system. The focus on making education multidisciplinary is a significant step that will benefit the students, and one that will have far-reaching effects. The Government of India has done a tremendous job in creating an enabling ecosystem for offering multidisciplinary education to flourish and making a difference to students, who in turn will make an impact on the future of our country.
The flexibility to choose subjects from sciences and humanities with the ability to also learn fine arts and sports will give students a wide range of subjects to choose without the restrictions they faced earlier. With creative combination of subjects, cutting edge curriculum, flexible options, and multiple entry and exit options during the undergraduate course, students can explore their areas of interest and also choose careers of their choice. In addition, this kind of approach will foster intellectual curiosity, a critical thought process, self-reflection, leadership and teamwork skills, a sense of commitment, professionalism and a heightened sensitivity to one's socio-cultural environment.
The steps being taken to train the teachers and faculty through a focused process and planned manner is one of the highlights of the NEP 2020. We have an immediate need to train the teachers and upgrade their skills and knowledge. They need to be in the know-how of cutting edge pedagogy and ways of delivering high quality content. This kind of interest and investment by the Government will go a long way in enhancing the standards of teaching and also attract more number of quality aspirants back into academia.
The removal of M.Phil. and allowing academic aspirants to apply for a PhD with a Master's degree or a four year undergraduate degree is another innovative measure that will make a positive impact on attracting more interested aspirants to choose academia as a career. I am hopeful of seeing a visible improvement in reduction of the gap of good quality faculty in the higher education system in India through these measures.
The NEP also has announced an extremely pragmatic step in allowing the top 100 foreign colleges to set up campuses in India. This will propel our education institutions and the higher education system in India to gear themselves to become truly global. With increased competition, this will raise the bar for higher education in India. I however, see this as an opportunity for higher education institutions to collaborate and co-opt with each other. Whichever option of the above works, the biggest beneficiaries will be the students.
The industry will be the next section that will also reap the advantages of having a multidisciplinary education in India. Students entering the industry will no longer be narrow specialists but generalists with relevant depth of their chosen discipline.
We must remember that the Indian way of learning, acquiring knowledge has always been liberal and multidisciplinary. Hence, it would be very apt for me to reiterate that this approach to education has been India's contribution to the world. The formulation and implementation of the NEP 2020 will play a significant role in the shaping of the future of higher education in the country and influence India's growth in the future.
*Views expressed are personal.