New National Education Policy allows both horizontal and vertical mobility of students as well as mid-term course correction wherein students can swap their chosen majors with minors and vice-versa after their third semester of a UG degree, thus providing them the flexibility to move from one discipline of study to another.
During the process of gaining knowledge and completing their degree programmes students can take multiple entries and multiple exits depending upon their personal needs, interests and family commitments.
They can stay away from their colleges for a maximum period of three years, re-enter and complete the whole UG degree within a total duration of seven years.
This will be particularly useful for the students hailing from rural areas who might occasionally need to lend a helping hand to their families back in their farms during the harvest season or have some other important assignments to attend.
Similarly, the students opting for some kind of start-ups, entrepreneurial and industrial ventures can take a break from their college routines and complete their assignments without affecting their career prospects adversely.
An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognized institutions of higher learning. This will allow students to gain the required number of credits from different educational institutions within the country and move around in an unhindered manner from one institution to another.
This will also help them gain diverse experiences and insights in different cultures and learning environments of different academic institutions while at the same time giving them freedom to move from one station to another, with or without their family members while pursuing their UG or PG degrees.
NEP-2020 promotes semester-wise, choice-based-credit-system that presents a cafeteria model wherein students can choose open and generic elective courses and teachers of their own choice and do not have to necessarily get taught by only a specific teacher or group of teachers working in a particular educational institution or teaching department of that institute.
This will lure greater number of students towards more enterprising, proficient and effective teachers and will generate a healthy competition among teachers motivating others to perform better and create demand for themselves in their respective institutions and teaching departments.
Teachers who make use of innovative teaching pedagogies and make learning fun and enjoyable will obviously be in greater demand rather than teachers who believe in chalk and talk method of teaching and rote-learning by students.
This will foster creativity, innovation and modernization of teaching pedagogies among teachers and make them more effective knowledge workers.
Students who have already enrolled and are pursuing UG programme as per Choice-Based-Credit-System will also be eligible to pursue 4-year undergraduate programme and the university concerned may offer bridge courses (including online courses) to enable them for transition to curriculum and credit framework for undergraduate programme (CCFUGP) notified by UGC.
Therefore, NEP-2020 envisages to invest liberally towards creating, fostering, implementing, sustaining and regularizing innovations among our young generation of students that will encourage our students and teachers to be industrious, productive, resourceful and open, share new ideas freely, explore novel initiatives without any fear of ridicule or retribution.
National Education Policy-2020 does not make any distinction between academic and vocational, curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular courses and activities.
It gives equitable weightage to all thus allowing students inclined more towards sports, arts, music, dancing, social work etc to pursue their careers with full vigour without losing on their academic scores and grades.
New policy encourages formative assessment over summative assessment, continuous over terminal assessment, conceptual understanding over rote-learning and flexibility over rigidity. Thus the students need not cram their curricular contents for their terminal examinations and need not get sleepless nights while preparing for the same.
They can just relax and get themselves evaluated on continuous basis soon after they acquire the requisite knowledge, skill or competence in any specific portion of their curriculum because as per NEP-2020 education will be learning outcomes based wherein students will be evaluated on regular (weekly, monthly or quarterly) basis for the accomplishment of their learning objectives.
Progress towards achievement of learning outcomes will be assessed using time-constrained examinations including closed-book and open-book tests, problem-based assignments, practical assignment laboratory reports, observation of practical skills, individual project reports (case-study reports), team-based project reports, oral presentations including seminars, viva voce interviews, computerized adaptive assessment, examination on demand, modular certifications, etc.
Learning objectives and outcomes will be divided into programme learning outcomes for the whole UG or PG programme and course learning outcomes for various courses within a specific UG or PG programme.
New education policy allows special attention for slow learners through special mentorship guidance and extra-hours of grooming through one-to-one sessions.
It also seeks to promote local language, culture and heritage while at the same time inculcating a sense of deep rootedness and pride in India through an understanding and appreciation of its rich ethos, traditions, diversity and contributions to the world of science, mathematics, literature and knowledge.
It envisages to make education and research more socially and locally relevant by promoting community outreach and extension activities. Skill enhancement and entrepreneurship development will be promoted through promotion of innovation-incubation and start-up culture.
Industrial visits, internships and on-the-job training of students will be fostered with a view to help them meet the emerging challenges of highly dynamic global job markets and make them more employable as per contemporary industry needs.
New policy seeks to give impetus to online and e-learning with a view to make education more accessible, affordable and accountable and for this endeavour it aims to bridge the digital divide by providing free gadgets to students hailing from far-flung areas and belonging to lower strata of the society.
Collaboration between colleges and universities across the nation will be promoted under the post-NEP era wherein student and teacher exchange programmes will receive a flip and more and more MOUs would be signed in future between inter and intra-national universities in diverse areas of mutual interest.
In nutshell students will enjoy greater autonomy, freedom and flexibility under the new policy and relish their studies rather than view them as some kind of unwanted burden.
Role of teachers will also be transformed from that of passive transmitters of knowledge to active facilitators and reliable mentors and the educational institutions too will enjoy a higher degree of academic and administrative autonomy besides mutual collaboration and cooperation to achieve the desired goals of higher education.
Ultimate aim is to make our students effective contributors of the knowledge society who can contribute significantly towards nation building and augment our knowledge capital.
(Author teaches at the Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir. This article is based on the excerpts from a talk delivered by the author during first Techfest of IoT, Zakura on December 13, 2022)
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.