What is the implementation plan of the NEP 2020 reforms?
The policy aims at transformational changes and not incremental. The school system is changing from 10+2 to 5+3+3+4. Similarly, higher education is totally transformed with multiple entry and exit, with multidisciplinary courses and academic bank of credit.
The phase-wise implementation of the NEP will start from this month as stated on the cabinet note with more than 100 recommendations. In higher education the academic bank of credit will come by December 2020. Multiple entry and exit will also come from the 2020-21 session. The institutions of excellence will start early and subsequently be extended to central universities and willing state universities.
The recommendations are being divided into non-financial and financial reforms and the former will be started early. Many of the reforms do not require funds, but a new way of thinking. For example, multiple entry and exit is not related to funding, but to modular courses and credit bank and so it can be done.
There will be an implementation committee to continuously monitor and the reports will be placed before CABE regularly.
Are all reforms to be implemented nationally straight away?
In many cases we will run pilot projects before taking it nationally so as to ensure students are not adversely affected. For example, the academic bank of credit will be tried first in some of the IITs and central universities so that the system is 100% secured.
When is the four-year degree programme to be rolled out?
IoEs will be encouraged to start immediately in 2020-21 as some of them have already signed the MoU. And they can have the multiple entry and exit because by that time the credit bank would have become operational. Central universities who are ready can join by 2021 and latest by 2022.
Will the credit bank also facilitate credit transfer between universities?
The present system does not permit inter-transferability of credit between the universities.
In the new policy a fixed period will be given between three to five years within which one can come back and utilise the credits.
The MoUs between the universities through the Association of Indian Universities will have this arrangement that those who join this new system take each other’s credit.
How will the proposed common entrance test work out?
The IITs, NITs and state engineering colleges used to have separate entrance exams. With JEE the exams became common. But JEE is voluntary for the state engineering colleges. It will be the same where all central universities will have common entrance tests. The state universities will have the liberty, they can either join immediately or later. And those states who join the common entrance test and their languages will also be introduced. If state universities of Assam join, then the test will also be delivered in Assamese. The details will be issued by February-March 2021 and the first test will be sometime in May 2021.
When will the Higher Education Commission of India be functional?
The cabinet note has been prepared. However, the draft of the Bill will be put up in public domain for a month for feedback sometime in September. The Bill is 90% ready.
What will happen to UGC, AICTE or NAAC?
They will be merged within the new organisation. The Bill which we are planning is providing a repeal and saving clause.
The NEP speaks of Indian institutions setting up campuses abroad and allowing foreign universities’ campuses here. IIT-Delhi made an unsuccessful bid to set a campus in Mauritius earlier?
There was an agreement to set up a campus in Mauritius but it could not take off because the IIT Act and the 1986 policy does not permit. The Foreign University Bill too didn’t materialise.
The UGC or the new regulator will have to bring new regulations. Setting up foreign university in India might require a bill.
However, the first step will be to have twinning arrangements which lead to joint degrees between Indian and foreign universities which are of the same standard. For setting up a full-fledged foreign university campus Parliamentary approval will be required. That stage we are not contemplating now.
Are all colleges finally going to be out of the affiliating system after 15 years?
Graded autonomy will be on the basis of accreditation and not arbitrary. Colleges with top grades can have their autonomy to grant degrees. Let’s say a Hindu, St Stephen’s or Shri Ram college become autonomous degree granting institutions, but the remaining colleges have to be affiliated to some universities. Gradually colleges will be encouraged to come to the autonomous grade. But those who cannot become autonomous will have to continue within the university.
How will the ambitious 50% GER by 2035 be achieved?
One is expanding universities. There are more online courses. The online and ODL norms have already been relaxed. If we look at the future most likely the people will be working and studying simultaneously. So ODL and online learning will become far more widespread.