Dr. Amrita Pathak
New Delhi: In the era of the Corona epidemic, the new education policy of the 21st century has been brought to the public with the disregard of the Parliament and the Constitution, which is being called a revolutionary step in the field of education.
Education policy has been made in the country from time to time to improve and streamline the quality of education. After independence, according to the need, education policy was made to improve the education system of the country, which talks about structural changes in the education system from school to university.
The new education policy 2020 is seen as a blow to higher education and educational institutions with some beneficial aspects.
Why did the need for education policy arise?
Since the beginning of human history, education has been developing and spreading in various ways. Each country develops its own specific education system to give expression to its socio-cultural identity and also to meet the challenges of the times. Sometimes in the history of the country such a time comes, when there is an urgent need to give a new direction to that series which has been going on for many years. In order to promote education, education policy started in the country with the aim of educating the last person of the country and connecting it with the works of social development. To strengthen the education system for the first time after independence, the first education policy was made in 1968, after which the second education policy was brought in 1986, which was revised in 1992. To change the education system in the changing global scenario, on 29 July 2020, a new education policy has been introduced after 34 years.
The new education policy 2020 brought to the public by showing the dream of a healthy, powerful, superior, prosperous India is an attempt to centralize education in the name of changes made in the education sector, especially in the context of transferring higher education to the market. The changes suggested for higher education and educational institutions are based on actually withdrawing from the government’s responsibilities for education and using education as a commodity for profit. Now the foreign education mafia will be able to invest in the country and set up their campuses and swallow the already favorable education structure directly.
In higher education, the faceless institution like HECI has been replaced by semester system, FYUP, CBDS, UGC. To run an institution means it should have the infrastructure, the UGC sent the team and used to check the institution and there the teacher used to talk to the staff and students to regulate the university. The teacher, staff and students had only one means to reach out to the policy-maker, which would be finished. Now all the work will be fixed on paper which has all the possibilities of rigging. In 1984, George Orwell conceived many such faceless organizations. This institution will have the right that if any educational institution does not follow the standards and rules, then it can be punished. Four institutions have been formed under HECI.
• National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) – for regulation
• General Education Council (GEC) – for standard determination
• Higher Education Funding Council (HEGC) – for funding
• National Accreditation Council (NAC) – for recognition.
Attack on autonomy
The university’s imagination rests on the foundation of autonomy, here autonomy means administrative, academic and financial autonomy. In the new Education Policy 2020, a model of autonomy has been introduced which is named “Graded Autonomy” but the word is as earful as it sounds, in fact it is equally frightening. Graded autonomy means that educational institutions will be divided into three categories. Research Institute, teaching universities and colleges. A university would mean a multi-disciplinary HEI offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs with high-quality teaching, research and services. Universities will not be of single subject; All universities, including professional universities, will be multi-disciplinary. There are more than 10000 colleges in the category of college, it is very likely to be considered as a lower level. A different type of institutional discrimination will arise by dividing educational institutions into categories.
Now under the new education policy MA, MPhil, technical courses and PhD courses related to higher education have also been arbitrarily rescheduled. The course of MPhil has been terminated. This will directly affect to the quality of higher education. The new education policy provides for multi-entry and exit. If a student is not able to complete BTech due to any reason, then after one year certificate, diploma will be given after three years and degree after four years. That Means, the new education policy is going to assuming that students will not be able to complete their course. The government should have found solutions for all such reasons so that no student has to drop his studies. This will also negatively impact the quality of education of technical courses.
Changes have also been made in post graduate education. If a student has to do research work, he will have to do a 4-year degree and a one-year MA, after that he will be admitted to PhD without doing an M.Phil. If someone has to do a job, he has to do a 3-year degree. The duration for doing MA has been reduced by one year and M.Phil has been completely eliminated, this will adversely affect the level of quality of education. Practical work in most of the universities and colleges of the country is negligible. Due to which the quality of higher education in our country is continuously falling. No steps have been taken in the new education policy to overcome this deficiency. Humanities subjects are already lying on the deathbed, now it will become even more difficult to get higher education in them. Higher education policy will give a further impetus to the already ongoing attacks on higher education. Centralization will increase with the investment of large capital and there will be a tremendous increase in fees.
Dalit, backward, women and minorities
Higher education goes away from the reach of Dalit, backward, women and minorities.
By talking about self-reliant India, there is complete preparation to remove Dalit backward, women and minorities from higher education forever. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education report 2018-19 of MHRD, the total enrollment in higher education has been estimated to be 37.4 million, with 19.2 million boys and 18.2 million girls. The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 26.3%, which was calculated for the age group of 18–23 years. GER is 26.3% for the male population and for females, it is 23.5%. For Scheduled Castes, it is 23% and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 17.2% as compared to National GER of 26.3%. Thanks to government-funded universities, people of all classes, castes and religions in the country could realize their big dreams of getting higher education, but the government encouraged disinvestment in education and crushed their dreams in the name of autonomy of institutions. Now whoever has the money will be able to study that much.
For the higher education sector, the new education policy has some high-flying targets such as increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio to 50 (25 per cent (existing percentage) by 2035) autonomy to all higher education institutions (HEIs) and opening a quality university in every district of the country. To achieve the goals, NEP exemplifies the ancient Indian universities of Takshashila and Nalanda, creating an environment for multi-disciplinary studies at universities, although this teaching method can already be seen at Jawaharlal Nehru University but institutions like JNU by the ruling party Constant attacks are being carried out on the other hand and this promise shows the low visibility of the government.
More challenging than any government policy announcement is to implement the policy. The country has a rich history of policy objectives. It would be an exaggeration to say that some positive objectives mentioned in the new education policy have been brought down on the ground at any time, this government has no intention of changing the interest in the country, nor has there been a background of doing such work in the last term.
Dr. Amrita Pathak