The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 announced on Wednesday has proposed to discontinue M.Phil degrees and would instead allow students to pursue a Ph.D. after a Master’s degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree programme.
The policy has proposed flexibility for higher education institutions to offer students multiple entry and exit points, including three- or four-year undergraduate (UG) or Bachelor’s programmes where in a four-year course, the fourth-year would involve research and the student would then be allowed to undertake a one-year Master’s course or a Ph.D.
Institutes could also offer a two-year Master’s programme where the second year would be devoted entirely to research for those who have completed a three-year Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, institutes could offer an Integrated Five-year Bachelor’s/Master’s degree.
The new NEP, approved by the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet, will replace the existing National Policy of Education (NPE) formulated in 1986 and modified in 1992.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the approval of the National Education Policy 2020! This was a long due and much-awaited reform in the education sector, which will transform millions of lives in the times to come!,” PM Modi tweeted after the announcement of the new policy.
Among other major reforms, the policy has proposed to set-up a single regulatory body for higher education institutes in India barring those for law and medicine.
It also said that by 2040, all higher education institutions shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students and that by 2030, there shall be at least one large multidisciplinary HEI in or near every district. The policy set a target to achieve a gross enrollment ratio of 50 per cent by 2035.
Moreover, much like several elections manifestos of major parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, over the past many years, the policy has proposed and approved a plan to raise the public expenditure on education to 6 per cent of the GDP.
Public Spending on Education in India has hovered between has not exceeded 3.1 per cent of the GDP in the last decade and was the lowest at 2.4 per cent of the GDP in 2015-16.
A draft of the policy was submitted by a committee led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' last year. After that, feedback on the draft was taken from stakeholders through various channels.