Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
NEP: Higher Education Institutions and Board Exams
Context: When Delhi University announced the first list of admission into undergraduate programmes in its 90 colleges this year, the cut-offs reached 100 per cent mark in some courses offered by a few colleges.
Do You Know?
- India has nearly 1,000 universities and almost 40,000 colleges spread across the country. Many of the universities affiliate more than 1,000 colleges.
- However, 16.3 per cent of the colleges have an enrolment of fewer than 100 students and Only 4 per cent colleges have an enrolment over 3,000.
How Gross Enrollment Ratio(GER) in Delhi is leading to high Cut-offs?
- According to the most recent All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE 2018-19), Delhi’s GER is 46.3 per cent (the national GER is 26.3 per cent).
- This means that almost every second youth in Delhi between the age of 18 and 23 is enrolled in a higher education programme.
- But the aspirations of Delhi’s youth are not met by adequate high-quality Higher Education Institutions (HEIs, including universities and standalone institutions), leading to unreasonably high cut-offs.
- In few other states, where the GER is close to 50 per cent, the situation is similar to that of Delhi.
How NEP targets impact Higher Education Institutions?
- School Targets Impacting Demand for HEI: NEP 2020 aims for 100 per cent enrollment across our school stages, from pre-primary to the secondary stage. As we move towards this target, there will be a further rise in applications for higher education programmes.
- Additional Seats needed in next decade: NEP 2020 has also set a target of 50 per cent enrolment in Higher Education by 2035.This would mean an additional 35 million seats to be created in HEIs across the country.
- Potential for Social Crisis: Unless something transformative is done, India is headed towards a rise in the number of unemployed graduates (due to poor quality education) and a generation of disenchanted youth (due to the systemic failure in equipping them with required skill sets).
How does NEP2020 tries to plug this supply gap in HEIs?
- Improve Accessibility: NEP 2020 recommends moving into a higher education ecosystem that consists of large multi-disciplinary HEIs, offering undergraduate and graduate programmes, one in every, or nearly every district, in the country.
- Moving towards autonomy to take advantage of local needs: The HEIs will be multi-disciplinary universities and colleges; with the latter moving away from affiliation into a degree-granting HEI or a constituent college of the university. Each such institute will aim to have 3,000 or more students.
- Private and Foreign Participation: The regulatory framework envisaged under NEP 2020 is light and leaning more towards self-regulation. It also allows foreign Universities to open campuses in India. All there is expected to increase the private sector’s participation in providing High Education.
How should one deal with unreasonable cut-offs that will persist despite increase in HEIs?
- For the problem of unreasonable cut-offs to be rooted out, the assessment reforms that NEP envisages, for both school-leaving and higher education entrance, is critical. Both of these reforms have to take place simultaneously.
- Using school-leaving marks to create cut-offs is a lazy option employed by the HEIs to reduce the number of applicants, before launching their admission process
- School percentages are not good markers of an individual’s readiness to do higher education given the serious drawbacks of standardised assessments in our board exams
- Broader Assessment: Instead, school-leaving certificates will have to be based on an array of assessments, including a student’s performance across the secondary level — Classes IX to XII. They will factor in class assignments and tests, leading to the development of students’ portfolios.
- HEIs may use the portfolio of school assessments as the base, but the admission process ought to assess whether the prospective student has developed the attributes for pursuing higher education.
If assessment system of HEI are not reformed, the country is at the risk of generating graduates in tens of millions, who will neither have the capacity to generate employment for themselves nor the capability to be employed anywhere.
Connecting the dots:
- New Education policy 2020
- Right to Education Act