Mysuru: There have been extensive changes in society since the last Education Policy with regard to social, economic, industrial and cultural aspects, said Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Chairman of the Committee that prepared the National Education Policy 2019 Draft. Speaking at the symposium on ‘National Education Policy’ at Rani Bahadur auditorium here this morning, he said increasing and ubiquitous usage of technology like internet and its dominance was not foreseen during the preparation of the last policy.
The journey of the NEP was interesting which involved a long process where discussions with educators, researchers, policy makers, sector experts, industry-academies, community groups were held and even citizens were engaged. Consultations with 70 organisations, institutions, associations, and 216 eminent individuals had begun from 2017 onwards, he revealed.
This is the era of the fourth industrial revolution and it has its own ramifications for education. The aim of the NEP is alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-4) that seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030, he said.
Pointing to the relevance of higher education, Dr. Kasturirangan said “As India moves towards becoming a true knowledge society and in view of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where the country aims to lead and where an increasing proportion of employment opportunities will consist of skilled jobs of a creative and multi-disciplinary nature, more and more young Indians are aspiring to higher education.”
Accordingly, the higher education system in India must at the earliest be readjusted, revamped and re-energised to fulfil these important and noble aspirations of the people, he added.
Dwelling at length on the NEP, he warned, “It should be emphasised that higher education must build expertise that society will need over the next 25 years and beyond. Simply tailoring people into jobs that exist today, but that are likely to disappear after some years, is suboptimal and even counterproductive. The future workplace will demand critical thinking, communication, problem solving, creativity and multi-disciplinary capability. Single-skill and single-discipline jobs are likely to become automated over time.”
On some of the issues plaguing the higher education, he said that the NEP recognises the need to revamp the Indian Higher Education System given its many deficiencies with regard to education and research.
What are the things that are lacking? There is lack of access in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, lack of teacher and institutional autonomy and inadequate mechanisms for career progression of faculty, lack of research culture, poor regulation of fake colleges are some of the issues that Dr. Kasturirangan pointed out. Are there solutions? The Policy envisages an imaginative and broad-based liberal undergraduate education with rigorous specialisation in chosen fields. This includes 3-4 year undergraduate degree with multiple exit options, flexible masters degree programmes like two years for those with three year undergraduate degree and one year for those with four year undergraduate degree with honours or an integrated five-year programme, he said.
Earlier, University of Mysore (UoM) Registrar Prof. Lingaraja Gandhi welcomed. FVCK President and former Vice-Chancellor of UoM Prof. S.N. Hegde, UoM Vice-Chancellor Prof. G. Hemantha Kumar also spoke.
PMEB (Planning Management and Evaluation Board) Director and Convenor of the symposium Prof. N. K. Loknath, FVCK Secretary Prof. R.N. Srinivas Gowda, former Vice-Chancellors Prof. Chandrashekar, Prof. Muniyamma, Prof. K. Narayan Gowda, Prof. K. Bhyrappa, Prof. P. Venkatramaiah, JSS S&T University VC Prof. B.G. Sangameshwara and others were present.
An interaction session followed the symposium.