Dr. M. A. Shah
Higher Educational Institutions, particularly professional Institutions, should have one roof for Academics, Research and Industry as per New Educational Policy (NEP). As a teacher, I have understood the policy as simple and straightforward; it needs to be administered steadily both at lower level and in higher institutions of learning. The policy emphasises on revamping curriculum, pedagogy, assessments and student support systematically. NIT Srinagar is all set to revamp its curriculum probably in July this year, which will resonate with its vision. The PG, Department of Physics has made preliminary exercise of changing curriculum of PG students as per NEP 2020, which included half a dozen electives. The department is carefully examining the course structure and nature of its existing programs, which could provide a strong foundation for introducing the NEP 2020 directives. We are aiming to explore and target SEDs and conduct outreach programmes.
More so, the policy also acknowledges the 21st century need for flexibility, mobility, alternate pathways to learning and self-actualisation, which has also been taken into account. An approach of institutional restructuring and consolidation with an aim to provide equal emphasis on teaching and research is the hall mark of this policy. It is worth putting on record that Jammu and Kashmir Government is all set to establish a marvelous institution namely State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and its framework coincides with that of a multidisciplinary university. A grant has been offered to create umbrella structures in education budget in nine cities across the country and Jammu & Kashmir need to have one–Umbrella Structure for joint monitoring, vigilant planning and collaborative implementation of New Education Policy 2020. Hon’ble Lt. Governor Shri Manoj Sinha on NEP 2020, besides once quoting Nelson Mandela, said, education can breed prosperity, peace and harmony in the society if we use this tool efficiently and effectively. This is the time we need to make initiatives for such tools and set up dedicated Functional Education Council for monitoring and implementation of NEP-2020 to achieve envisaged objectives and to set the existing system right.
With the future of education being technology dominated, the engineering education should focus on innovation, creativity and multidisciplinary thinking. IITs and NITs, being the institute of national and international eminence, must bring flexibility and research-based multidisciplinary approach to their curriculum to provide greater opportunities for outstanding public education. In multidisciplinary approach, IIT Delhi has chosen to set up a School of Public Policy while IIT Madras is all set to offer its students a bachelor’s degree in Data Sciences that will have multiple entry and exit systems. IIT Guwahati’s initiative to open a medical school, a management school and dissect the possibilities of broadening its horizons into architecture, arts and philosophy is highly remarkable. They also have resolved to start a centre for linguistic studies and a centre for energy and rural technology. The unique framework of IIT Jodhpur gives its students the freedom to curate their own programmes. Their collaboration with AIIMS Jodhpur for the master’s medical technology programme is helping students to build a strong multidisciplinary foundation for the future. These institutions need to expand its reach of knowledge and should share through online courses and improve industry-academia linkages by utilising National Research Foundation.
Under the policy, the alliance between Indian educational institutions with foreign higher education institutions that have performed better in the world rankings has also been approved. We need to explore this also. If need arises, institutions should start short diploma and certificate courses under new vocational courses. Academic Bank of Credits will function like a digital bank, where students can amass credits from subjects of their choice, choosing or leaving a curriculum as per their preference. The accumulated credits can then be used for getting their degrees. It encourages a multidimensional skill set and emphasises on breaking the disciplinary boundaries and pedagogical change for cognitive-affective-life skill development. We need well-rounded and skill-full students after completions of degrees/diplomas. A holistic and multidisciplinary education system would aim to develop all capacities of human beings-intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and moral in an integrated manner. NIT Srinagar has recently taken several initiatives to form new departments and centres with multi-disciplinary teaching and research programs, which dovetail nicely with the broad objectives of the NEP 2020. The Institute has in recently established start of art Center for Research Facility (CRF) and started i-dream, which is highly interdisciplinary in nature and is in tune with NEP-2020. The Water Resources Centre (WRC) and Tribology Laboratory of Mechanical Engineering Department, which was recently awarded FIST grant are equipped with many sophisticated instruments. The FIST Supported PG Department of Physics is all set to establish Photonics Centre and a school of Biological Materials that will focus on doctoral and PG courses including special programmes for medical professionals. The Special Laboratory for Multifunctional Nanomaterials (LMN) funded by Nano-Mission in the department also promotes inter-disciplinarity.
If NEP 2020 is implemented on priority, the new norms of the policy will reduce regulatory hassles, promote autonomy and benefit students and education providers. The emphasis on concepts, ideas, innovations, research applications and problem-solving can make learning enjoyable and engaging through this policy. It will help our students to develop scientific temper, creativity, the spirit of service and 21st century capabilities across the range of disciplines. Student need to embrace universal values and identify their role model.
Dr. M. A. Shah is teaching Nanotechnology and is Chair,PG Department of at NIT Srinagar
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.