Higher education is preparing for a holistic arrangement of education that can ensure an increase in the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50% by 2035, as proposed by the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
This is an important focus in the policy introduced on Wednesday in the presence of minister of HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. It is aimed at improving the GER in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.
Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said, “For this enhancement in GER, we are introducing a new arrangement for holistic education, which would have multiple entry and exit points.”
Khare said that today if someone studying engineering for three years has to leave it midway, the student finds himself/herself out of the system of education. The new policy will have multiple entry and exit points and under this system he explained that in a year one can acquire a certificate; in two years a diploma; and in three-four years’ a degree. “Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years,” said the statement from the ministry.
“The multiple entry and exit will be done through academic bank of credit. One can use academic credit in digi locker like we use the bank credit and resume education after a break as specified by the higher education commission later,” he added.
For some reason, if one leaves in third year, he/she can return after a fixed period without being asked to repeat a year and resume education by utilising credits for further education. “An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned,” said Khare.
This is the “Holistic Multidisciplinary Education” and it has been proposed for broad based, multi-disciplinary Undergraduate education with flexible curricula, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. “UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period,” he said.
The NEP 2020 proposes Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs. They have been envisaged as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
As per the ministry announcement, “3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions”.