New Education Policy, which is aligned with SDG-4, proposes the revision and revamping of all aspects of the current educational structure, including its regulation and governance. A simplified roadmap is being proposed, for its successful implementation in phased manner.
Establishment of School Complexes/Clusters-25 in each district in Phase 1
Identify existing Higher Secondary/Secondary Schools (probably 25 in each in each district) to form School Complexes/Clusters, having expansion/extension options. For these Complexes, we need to identify academic leaders and have to train the staff as per their specialization in universities/institutes under the mission, “Grooming the Gardeners”. From Class 6th upto 12th (3+4), there should be a uniform syllabus/text books/ time table/calendar and should have the one school complex, with a bird’s eye on Primary Sector falling in their periphery. Upto class 5th (5+3), assistance of number of organizations and public private partnership is needed, including other ministries. Each complex should be funded adequately and shall be supported by all means including deployment from outside the department.
State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) for school regulation
States/UTs shall set up an independent, State-wide body called the State School Standards Authority (SSSA). Directorate of Education to look after operations, SCERT to look after academics and State School Standards Authority to set minimum common standards for online/ offline self-disclosure by all public and private schools. The SCERT will also lead a “change management process” for the reinvigoration of CRCs, BRCs, and DIETs which must change the capacity and work culture of these institutions.
Digital education and technology in education – NETF / NCFSE/ NCFTE
This Forum will provide evidence-based advice to central and state-governments on technology-based interventions. Technology will play a major role in academics and the administration. It is a platform to facilitate the free exchange of ideas on technology usage in education. National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be undertaken by the NCERT – to address frontline curriculum needs. Similarly, a new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT..
Reformation in Examinations in admission and evaluation
Thousands of colleges and hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams, National Testing Agency (NTA), has been performing beyond our imagination under one umbrella– thereby drastically reducing the burden on students and the entire education system. It need to be further strengthened to conduct all Board and University examination, the States and Union Territories have to provide infrastructure only for online and offline examination. NTA should have a full fledged campus in every state/UT.
Restructuring of institutions in Higher Education
Classify the existing institutions into three categories and even the leadership for such institutions need to be reshuffled.
Research universities focusing equally on research and teaching- Type A
(ii) Teaching universities focusing primarily on teaching Type B
Degree granting colleges primarily focused on undergraduate teaching. Type C
All above institutions will gradually move towards full autonomy – academic, administrative and financial.
Setting-up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) one in each district, at par with IITs, as model of best multidisciplinary education is a challenge. The multidisciplinary education, would prepare students for multi-functional jobs which they may take up over their lifetimes that should make them less dependent on Govt-sector jobs and equipping the students with the key skills besides creating holistic and well-rounded individuals.
These multidisciplinary institutions will bridge the gap between the current state of learning outcomes and what is required in this century by undertaking major reforms that bring the highest quality and equity.
Academic Bank of Credit (ABC)
With multiple exit options, the students can take sabbatical and join again after some time. Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall digitally store academic credits to facilitate Transfer of Credits. So, all institutions have to establish ABC unit which shall probably be interconnected like ATMs.
The Final Line:
Quality Education- How to Impart Quality Education to students, so that they can compete in the Global Market. They are not going to pay them what they know, but sure they will pay them what they can do of what they know.
Good Governance: To overhaul the system- Curriculum/Training Centers/ Teachers recruitment. We need dynamic people (05-10) from each district irrespective of their seniority to constitute State Education Council/Commission, so that the NEP can be implemented in Latter and Spirit. It should have one campus housing all education related departments, so that we could coordinate efficiently with center.
Digital Education: It has to be strengthened by all means at gross route level. It will work in pandemic or not in pandemic/disaster situations. On-line leaning will give life to education system, provided it is done meticulously. Digital education has shaken the world.
Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) and National Research Foundation
Thus, a Comprehensive State Education Reforms Council/Secretariat (SERC), National Science/Research Foundation, Directorate of District Education Councils (DEC) and Block Education Councils (BEC) should be established, where initially some eminent academicians from each discipline have to be appointed, which will act as Board of Directors (BOD). This is the time we need to make initiatives for such tools and set up dedicated Education Commission for joint monitoring, vigilant planning and collaborative implementation of NEP-2020 to achieve peace and prosperity.
M A Shah is Associate Professor, P.G Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology Srinagar (NIT) Srinagar.