The National Education Policy 2020- An overview-III

Dr N Ranjana Devi
Contd from prev issue
5.    Student Activity and Participation
- Students will be given plenty of opportunities for participation in sports, culture/arts clubs, eco-clubs, activity clubs, community service projects, etc. All HEIs will ensure quality medical facilities for all students in their institutions.
- Financial assistance to students shall be made available through various measures. Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
6.    Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty
- The HEIs will be equipped with the basic infrastructure and facilities, including clean drinking water, clean working toilets, blackboards, offices, teaching supplies, libraries, labs, and pleasant classroom spaces and campuses. Every classroom shall have access to the latest educational technology that enables better learning experiences.
- Teaching duties also will not be excessive, and student-teacher ratios not too high, so that the teaching activity remain pleasant and more time is available for research & office activities.
- Faculty will be given the freedom to design their own curricular and pedagogical approaches within the approved framework, including textbook and reading material selections, assignments, and assessments.
- Incentives through appropriate rewards, promotions, recognitions, and movement into institutional leadership. Meanwhile, faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable.
- The HEIs will have clearly defined, independent, and transparent processes and criteria for faculty recruitment. Whereas the current recruitment process will be continued, a ‘tenure-track’ i.e., suitable probation period shall be put in place to further ensure excellence. There shall be a fast-track promotion system for recognizing high impact research and contribution.
- Excellent faculty with high academic and service credentials as well as demonstrated leadership and management skills will be identified early and trained through a ladder of leadership positions.
7.    Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education
This Policy envisions ensuring equitable access to quality education to all students, with a special emphasis on SEDGs.
Steps to be taken by Governments
(a) Earmark suitable Government funds for the education of SEDGs
(b) Set clear targets for higher GER for SEDGs
(c) Enhance gender balance in admissions to HEIs
(d) Enhance access by establishing more high-quality HEIs in aspirational districts and Special Education Zones containing larger numbers of SEDGs
(e) Develop and support high-quality HEIs that teach in local/Indian languages or bilingually
(f) Provide more financial assistance and scholarships to SEDGs in both public and private HEIs
(g) Conduct outreach programmes on higher education opportunities and scholarships among SEDGs
(h) Develop and support technology tools for better participation and learning outcomes.
Steps to be taken by all HEIs
(a) Mitigate opportunity costs and fees for pursuing higher education
(b) Provide more financial assistance and scholarships to socio-economically disadvantaged students
(c) Conduct outreach on higher education opportunities and scholarships
(d) Make admissions processes more inclusive
(e) Make curriculum more inclusive
(f) Increase employability potential of higher education programmes
(g) Develop more degree courses taught in Indian languages and bilingually
(h) Ensure all buildings and facilities are wheelchair-accessible and disabled-friendly
(i) Develop bridge courses for students that come from disadvantaged educational backgrounds
(j) Provide socio-emotional and academic support and mentoring for all such students through suitable counselling and mentoring programmes
(k) Ensure sensitization of faculty, counsellor, and students on gender-identity issue and its inclusion in all aspects of the HEI, including curricula
(l) Strictly enforce all no-discrimination and anti-harassment rules
(m) Develop Institutional Development Plans that contain specific plans for action on increasing participation from SEDGs, including but not limited to the above items.
8.    Teacher Education
- The 4-year integrated B.Ed. offered by such multidisciplinary HEIs will, by 2030, become the minimal degree qualification for school teachers. The 4-year integrated B.Ed. will be a dual-major holistic Bachelor’s degree, in Education as well as a specialized subject such as a language, history, music, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, economics, art, physical education, etc.
- The HEI offering the 4-year integrated B.Ed. may also run a 2-year B.Ed., for students who have already received a Bachelor’s degree in a specialized subject. A 1-year B.Ed. may also be offered for candidates who have received a 4-year undergraduate degree in a specialized subject. Scholarships for meritorious students will be established for the purpose of attracting outstanding candidates to the 4-year, 2-year, and 1-year B.Ed. programmes.
- The HEIs offering teacher education programmes will ensure the availability of a range of experts in education and related disciplines as well as specialized subjects. Each higher education institution will have a network of government and private schools to work closely with, where potential teachers will student-teach along with participating in other activities such as community service, adult and vocational education, etc.
- The admission to pre-service teacher preparation programmes shall be through suitable subject and aptitude tests conducted by the National Testing Agency, and shall be standardized keeping in view the linguistic and cultural diversity of the country.
- All fresh Ph.D. entrants, irrespective of discipline, will be required to take credit-based courses in teaching/education/pedagogy/writing related to their chosen Ph.D subject during their doctoral training period.
- The Ph.D students will also have a minimum number of hours of actual teaching experience gathered through teaching assistantships and other means. Ph.D. programmes at universities around the country will be re-oriented for this purpose.
- In-service continuous professional development for college and university teachers will continue. The use of technology platforms such as SWAYAM/DIKSHA for online training of teachers will be encouraged.
- A National Mission for Mentoring shall be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.
9 Reimagining Vocational Education
- Beginning with vocational exposure at early ages in middle and secondary school, quality vocational education will be integrated smoothly into higher education.
- By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education, for which a clear action plan with targets and timelines will be developed.
- The secondary schools will also collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics, local industry, etc. Skill labs will also be set up and created in the schools in a hub and spoke model which will allow other schools to use the facility.
- Higher education institutions will offer vocational education either on their own or in partnership with industry and NGOs. The B.Voc. degrees introduced in 2013 will continue to exist, but vocational courses will also be available to students enrolled in all other Bachelor’s degree programmes, including the 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor ’s programmes.
- HEIs will also be allowed to conduct short-term certificate courses in various skills including soft skills. ‘Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students through integration into vocational education courses. The possibility of offering vocational courses through ODL mode will also be explored.
- The MHRD will constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE), consisting of experts in vocational education and representatives from across Ministries, in collaboration with industry, to oversee this effort.
- The National Skills Qualifications Framework will be detailed further for each discipline vocation and profession and dropouts from the formal system will be reintegrated by aligning their practical experience with the relevant level of the Framework. The credit-based Framework will also facilitate mobility across ‘general’ and vocational education.
To be contd...
The writer is former Director Programme,  NCCT, New Delhi and  Former Director, ICM Imphal Higher Education