BY PROF MOHAMMAD ISMAIL, Dr MEEM HAI ZAFFER and Dr NAZIR AHMAD GILKAR
After adopting NEP 2020 the HED, Government of J&K has activated colleges and universities for initiating process to design a vibrant working model. Accordingly task forces have been constituted to study different aspects of the policy.
The draft reports have been submitted to the department. At college and university level various seminars and workshops have been organised for faculty and students. The faculty has been motivated to generate ideas to help in the process of implementation of this policy.
The department has also taken several review meetings to launch the working model during academic session 2022-23. It is encouraging that civil society has also shown keen interest in studying this policy document and suggested measures for its implementation. It is in this back drop that post and pre NEP 2020 working models are discussed.
The proposed model under new paradigm based on open-ended strategic approach is constructed upon at least ten verticals. The policy structure is based on five pillars viz. equity, quality, accessibility, affordability and accountability.
Accountability occupies central position and other four are corner pillars. The entire structure is divided in to several levels in terms of periodicity. These are 5+3+3+4+3/4 +2/1+PhD. More stages are now available under these levels.
Multi-disciplinary approach is the beauty of this policy at programme level. Each level enjoys a different pedagogy such as play way, experiential, vocational, creative and innovative till a student gets school education. The pedagogy adopted at higher education level rests on creative and innovative research as regards content transaction strategies with reference to learning objectives/outcomes.
A student has open choice to opt for entry-exit after every two semesters (annual pattern) by obtaining certificate, diploma, degree, degree with honours (research) and doctoral degree. The policy has maximum focus on research at higher education level.
Multilevel entry/exit option has a twin advantage. It will reduce/discourage dropout and bring efficacy in the teaching-learning process in the institutions when students opt for their presence on the campus as per their choice. They have to reflect seriousness in their studies.
Accordingly the model envisages change in style of teaching leading to value added teaching-learning process. For speedy disposal certificate/diploma may be issued by the concerned institution thereby reducing the workload of the affiliating university.
Assessment and evaluation is governed by 360 degree mechanism. It covers a complete circle. A student has to be ready for self-parental-societal assessment/feedback and teacher evaluation to enrich teaching-learning process. A student shall now be evaluated for curricular and co-curricular/syllabi and non-syllabi activities carried out in the class room and on the campus through offline as well as online mode with due regard to respective weightage for credits. Adequate credits are also acquired from co-curricular activities. Credits gained are now reckoned a force for competition.
Status of colleges has been elevated by introducing doctoral level Programmes. Once multidisciplinary approach with major and minor courses of study is put in practice the award of discipline specific degree like B A /B Sc. / B. Com. and MA / M Sc. / M. Com nomenclature loses its relevance. Thus, now generalised academic degrees will be awarded rather than discipline specific degrees. Categorisation like UG/PG finds no place in the model.
This policy primarily believes in human development for the betterment of society. Accordingly, it places equal focus on cognitive abilities, skill development and behaviour modification. Thus, the model accords equal recognition for philosophy and practice to churn out employable youth as the higher education is now egalitarian.
The president in his address to joint session of parliament during budget session 2022 also emphasised upon a blending of traditional values and modern skills.
The proposed model suggests that in every institution of higher learning there should be a spiritual lab to imbibe values by example. The canvass of higher education is widened by way of mass based spread keeping in view the improvement in present Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) 26 % at present to 50 % in the year 2035.
In this context Prof Jalees A Khan Tareen is of the view that the country should move to oceans to fish out sharks and whales rather small fish from ponds. This will lead to develop our universities into world class institutions with more diversification, enrolment, investment and higher order research.
The course content delivery is to be student centric as regards transaction strategies. There are at least 30 identified methodologies by the authors in the proposed model which can be employed in a class room or on the campus. Due to paucity of space these cannot be discussed in this short write-up but can be made available on demand. The student is at centre stage and teacher is a facilitator, mentor, councillor, etc. The course content is governed by pre-set learning objectives as well as learning outcomes which are measurable.
Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) is a driving force for competiveness. Weighted Average Grade Point (WAGP) determines performance of a learner.
The model is based on effective blending of technology and accounts for credits obtained through offline and online mode. A substantial amount of credits can be obtained through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and other digital platforms. A student can enrich his ABC by obtaining credits within his/her institution as well as from other institutions. A student is enabled to maintain account of ABC (score card) based on Credits/Debits to neutralise the effect of double accounting.
At national level institutional tie up is made with National Academic Depository Ltd in this regard. The apprehensions for reducing employability of teachers under New Policy are not based on facts. A teacher has to be versatile and expert in generation of e-content and e-evaluation in digital world. He has enough employment opportunities as he has to discharge multiple roles to enrich teaching-learning process leading to academic growth and productivity of students.
The model creates space for Institutional sovereignty for implementation of the policy. Of course UGC has been issuing general guide lines from time to time. Moreover, various states and universities have come out with their respective working models for implementation of this policy.
The policy encourages teaching of/in local languages. Accordingly it boosts morale and confidence of local language teachers. The model envisages that they should enrich course content and delivery mechanism; thus, motivate students across to study the literature of/in their local languages.
Conversely, under old Paradigm the structure of the policy was based on three pillars -equity, quality and accessibility. Discipline specific approach was adopted for programme structure. There was programme specific entry and exit at the beginning and end of the programme.
The policy moved around 10+2+3+2+ M Phil + Ph. D. The policy had minimum focus on research and maximum focus on teaching at university level. 90 Degree evaluation mechanism was in operation and teacher alone was evaluating a student. The status of colleges more or less was static.
Discipline specific degrees like BA/ BSc/ B Com and MA/ M Sc. /M Com were awarded. Course content was governed by learning objectives and course transaction was teacher centred. Thus teacher was at centre stage for content delivery. The content enjoyed maximum focus on philosophical approach with least attention towards practice.
Uniform Programme of Action (Po A) 1992 was in vogue after six years of adoption of National Policy for Education (NPE) 1986 for implementation across the country. The emphasis was on memorisation and closed-book examination system. Students enjoyed least flexibility with regard to their undergraduate or post graduate programmes. In the system Under Graduate or Post-Graduate degrees were awarded. The system thus followed closed end approach.
To conclude, demand of the time is to put emphasises upon creativity and innovation. Accordingly the proposed model focuses on innovations in the processes, systems and controls. Thus, provides space for alternate mechanism for teaching-learning and evaluation. The proposed model is put in operation gradually in a phased manner till its implementation in totality.
The model proposes that at least one college in each district of J&K is assigned with doctoral (PhD) programme in branches of knowledge keeping in view the infrastructure both physical and intellectual developed over the period. It is encouraging that 130 candidates have applied for the post of VC Kashmir University. At least 52 are locals.
They may sit together to design a model for implementation of NEP 2020, Rather, than borrowing models adopted by other states/universities.
(The proposed model is based on understanding of the policy by the authors.)
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.