Key Findings of the Parliament Panel on the New Education Policy

Why in News?

  • The Parliament Standing Committee on Education tabled a report during the special session of Parliament on the “Implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 in Higher Education.”

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About NEP 2020
  • News Summary (Key Findings of Parliamentary Committee)

About National Education Policy (NEP) 2020:

  • The National Education Policy, approved by the Union Cabinet in July 2020, outlines the vision of India’s new education system.
  • The committee that drafted the NEP 2020 was headed by Shri K Kasturirangan.
  • NEP 2020 focuses on five pillars: Affordability, Accessibility, Quality, Equity, and Accountability – to ensure continual learning.
  • The new policy replaces the previous National Policy on Education, 1986 and forms a comprehensive framework to transform both elementary and higher education in India by 2040.
    • This is the 3rd such education policy since India’s independence.
    • The earlier two were launched in 1968 &1986.
  • There is much emphasis upon multi-disciplinarity, digital literacy, written communication, problem-solving, logical reasoning, and vocational exposure in the document.

News Summary: Key Findings of the Parliament Panel on the New Education Policy

  • Parliament Standing Committee on Education, headed by MP Vivek Thakur, tabled a report during the special session of Parliament on the “Implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 in Higher Education.”
  • The report looked at the salient features of the NEP’s implementation in the higher education sector and the progress made so far.
  • Issues Discussed by the Committee:
    • rigid separation of disciplines,
    • limited access to higher education in socio-economically disadvantaged areas,
    • lack of higher education institutes (HEIs) that teach in local languages,
    • limited number of faculty,
    • lack of institutional autonomy,
    • lesser emphasis on research,
    • ineffective regulatory system and
    • low standards of undergraduate education.
  • Key Findings/Recommendations of the Committee:
    • The report noted that of the 1,043 universities functioning in the country 70% are under the State Act and that 94% of students are in State or private institutions with just 6% of students in Central higher educational institutions.
      • This highlights the importance of States in providing higher education.
    • The panel said that by 2030, every district in the country should have at least one multidisciplinary HEI and that the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, should be increased from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035.
    • The panel asked the Union Government and the State Governments to take actions such as:
      • earmarking suitable funds for the education of Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs),
      • setting clear targets for higher Gross Enrolment Ratio for SEDGs,
      • enhancing gender balance in admissions to HEIs,
      • providing more financial assistance and scholarships to SEDGs in both public and private HEIs,
      • making admission processes and curriculum more inclusive,
      • increasing employability potential of higher education programmes and for developing more degree courses taught in regional languages and bilingually.
    • The panel also recommended specific infrastructural steps to help physically challenged students and a strict enforcement of all no-discrimination and anti-harassment rules.
    • The Committee appreciated the manner in which the NEP was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • It said that the Union Territory was among the first in the country to implement NEP from the academic session 2022 in all its higher educational institutions.
  • The Committee suggested improving the effectiveness and impact of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) in funding HEIs.
    • It asked the HEFA to diversify its funding sources beyond government allocations.
  • The panel said that Indian institutions were likely to face several issues in implementing the multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) system.
  • The panel said while the MEME looked like a flexible system, which was being operated by Western educational institutions effectively, it might not work well in the country.

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