- The Parliament Standing Committee on Education recently tabled a report during the special session of Parliament on the “Implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 in Higher Education.”
What were the issues discussed?
- The 31 member panel tried to discuss issues such as the rigid separation of disciplines, limited access to higher education in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, lack of higher education institutes (HEIs) that teach in local languages, the limited number of faculty, lack of institutional autonomy, lesser emphasis on research, effective regulatory system and low standards of undergraduate 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.
What were the recommendations?
- 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 nodiscrimination and anti harassment rules.
- 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 and explore partnerships with private sector organisations, philanthropic foundations, and international ﬁnancial institutions.
- It recommended reviewing and adjusting the interest rates on loans provided by HEFA to make them more competitive and affordable for HEIs.
What about the multiple entry multiple exit programme?
- 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.