The implications of NEP on higher education

The implications of NEP on higher education

NEP emphasis on a more liberal undergraduate education that covers professional, technical, and vocational disciplines. DH Photo/B K Janardhan

The National Education Policy seeks to create world-class multidisciplinary higher education institutions across the country and increase Gross Enrolment Ratio to 50% by 2035.

It considers creating 21st-century skills and preparing well-rounded and creative individuals, with intellectual curiosity, the spirit of service and a strong ethical compass. The policy emphasises that higher education must build expertise that society will need over the next 25 years and beyond by bringing about positive and long-lasting changes in the higher education system. While formulating this policy, several innovative ideas have been considered which is likely to improve the effectiveness of our education system and finally achieve its long-term goal. Some key structural changes are as follows:

The policy calls for moving away from the present fragmented system with a variety of institutions such as central universities, state universities, private universities etc., to a higher educational system consisting of large, multidisciplinary universities and colleges. The present complex nomenclature of HEIs such as deemed to be university, affiliating university, affiliating technical university, unitary university shall be replaced simply
by 'university' on fulfilling the criteria as per norms. Single-stream HEIs will be phased out over time.

Degree-granting powers are, at present, vested only with universities. This will change, as autonomous colleges will also gain the freedom to grant their own degrees.

The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a bachelor ’s degree after a 3-year programme.

It lays emphasis on a more liberal undergraduate education that covers professional, technical, and vocational disciplines.

Admission to all undergraduate programmes of public HEIs is to be done through a process of assessment through the National Testing Agency, rather than having hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams.

The policy aims to introduce a 3-tier structure in higher education.

Type 1: Research Universities: Those universities that place equal emphasis on teaching and research. They will aim to become world-class research universities and compete with global institutions.

Type 2: Teaching Universities: These will focus primarily on high-quality teaching across disciplines and programs, including undergraduate, masters and doctoral, professional, vocational, certificate, and diploma programs, while also significantly contributing to cutting-edge research. 

Type 3: Colleges: These will focus almost exclusively on the goal of high-quality teaching. These institutions will largely run undergraduate programmes, will offer certificate, diploma, and degree courses in vocational education, and in some fields of professional education.

Undertaking a PhD shall require either a master’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree with research. The MPhil programme shall be discontinued.

All fresh PhD entrants, irrespective of discipline, will be required to have taken 8-credit courses in teaching/ education/ pedagogy related to their chosen PhD subject since many research scholars will take up teaching.

(The author is director, Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad)