The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, said Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, is sweeping in its vision and seeks to address the entire gamut of education from preschool to doctoral studies, and from professional degrees to vocational training. “It acknowledges the 21st century need for mobility, flexibility, alternate pathways to learning, and self-actualisation,” he said.
The huge potential of online pedagogy and learning methodologies for attaining the gross enrolment ratio (GER) target is recognised and sought to be tapped extensively in the NEP 2020, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi added. He said that another key aspect of school education in the new policy is the breaking of the straitjackets of arts, commerce and science streams in high school, and the goal of introducing vocational courses with internships. “Needless to say, the policy envisages 100% GER in school education by 2030,” he said.
NEP 2020 makes a bold prescription to free our schools, colleges and universities from periodic ‘inspections’ and place them on the path of self-assessment and voluntary declaration. “Transparency, maintaining quality standards and a favourable public perception will become a 24×7 pursuit for institutions, leading to all-round improvement in their standard. A single, lean body with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation is proposed to provide ‘light but tight’ oversight,” Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi said.
Prof TG Sitharam, the director of IIT Guwahati, is of the opinion that the NEP 2020 will likely transform India into a knowledge hub. “Besides incorporating the ethos of Indian philosophy right from early schooling, it has also incorporated Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, IIT Guwahati has been promoting SDGs and has made these a part of its curriculum at the undergraduate level,” Prof Sitharam said.
The goal of allocating 6% of GDP on education, entry of foreign universities in India and setting-up a National Research Foundation will provide tremendous boost to education sector, and generate highly trained human resources to realise the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat, he said.
IIT Gandhinagar director Prof Sudhir Jain said that the new NEP has numerous progressive elements that the new IITs will find easy to implement, considering their young faculty that tend to be more open to change. “Inter-disciplinarity, flexibility in credit requirements, lateral entry and exit, internationalisation, and student focus are areas that are deeply ingrained in the culture and ethos of IIT Gandhinagar. We expect the NEP will enable us to further deepen our partnerships with other institutes and colleges in India and even overseas, and significantly enhance mobility of students from colleges to IIT Gandhinagar through a variety of means,” he added.
Lastly, Prof PB Sunil Kumar, the director of IIT Palakkad, said that the NEP envisages all higher education institutions to become multidisciplinary institutions. “For newer IITs, it is easier to align with this policy,” he said.