Despite an increase in the number of Universities and Colleges, India has performed poorly on several higher education indices such as worldwide rankings, graduate employability, gross enrolment ratio, research publications, and so on.
Issues currently faced by the higher education system in India:
- Lack of industry-academic collaboration and an outdated curriculum that places less focus on imparting practical knowledge.
- Discipline separation is strict, with early specialization and squeezing of students into specific fields of study.
- With a disproportionate geographical distribution of Higher Education Institutions (HEIS) in the metropolitan regions, there is limited access, particularly in socioeconomically deprived areas.
- A severely fragmented higher educational ecosystem, such as the country’s complex nomenclature of higher education institutes (HEIs), such as “deemed to be university,” “affiliating university,” “affiliating technical university,” “unitary university,” and so on.
- In HEIS, there is a scarcity of qualified teachers. .
- Most universities and colleges place a lower priority on research, and there is a dearth of competitive peer-reviewed research.
- Management of Indian education faces challenges of over-centralisation, bureaucratic structures and lack of accountability, transparency, and professionalism.
In this context, the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to put in place a number of initiatives aimed at boosting higher education in India, including:
- All institutions of higher education will be restructured and consolidated into three types: research universities, teaching universities, and autonomous degree-granting colleges.
- Every college would either become an autonomous degree-granting institution or a constituent college of a university.
- It envisages an undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
- The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be established as a single, overarching regulatory agency for all higher education, with the exception of medical and legal education.
- It envisages internationally relevant curricula, meaningful opportunities for social engagement, quality residential facilities and on-campus support etc.
- Research collaboration and student exchanges between Indian institutions and global institutions will be promoted.
- The government should set clear goals for increased GER (50 percent by 2035) and appropriate government funds for education of socioeconomically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs).
As a result, NEP anticipates a total overhaul and re-energization of higher education to address diverse difficulties and deliver high-quality, inclusive higher education.
Explain how the new education policy tries to address the issues facing India’s higher education system.