Grappling with NEP-induced changes and infrastructural challenges

Updated - September 05, 2022 08:23 am IST

Published - September 04, 2022 07:43 pm IST - Bengaluru

The absence of syllabi and modalities is one of the key issues being faced by teachers and institutions in the implementation of NEP. File

The absence of syllabi and modalities is one of the key issues being faced by teachers and institutions in the implementation of NEP. File | Photo Credit: GOPINATHAN K.

Post the introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP), the burden of its implementation fell majorly on the teachers, for whom this was a whole new experience too. However, what is evident across educational institutions in the State is that the infrastructure that is available to implement this policy is not adequate. On Teachers’ Day, we look at how teachers are managing to make the best out of the situation while striving for the welfare of their students. 

A lecturer, who did not want to be named, in Bangalore University said that they were restricting the student intake to one of the NEP integrated science courses, as the lab facilities were not up to the mark in the university. “It is true that a lot of students apply, but how do we teach them what is in the syllabus when our labs are not equipped with the latest tools and instruments?” the lecturer said. 

According to a professor at Kannada University, Hampi, the absence of syllabi and modalities is one of the major issues being faced by teachers and institutions in the implementation of the NEP.

“The NEP is a bunch of ideas and directions. They need to be concretised with specific modalities for each aspect. One free size cannot fit all. Take the instance of PhD course. After getting selected for PhD, the students have to complete a six-month research course work conducted by a doctoral committee where they would be trained for their research. Completion of this course is a must. But, we have no modalities ready as per the NEP 2020. We ourselves cannot prepare them overnight as it involves many things such as course duration, syllabus, and examination pattern. The experts from the University Grants Commission (UGC) have to prepare the concrete modalities and it takes at least one-and-a-half years. Going for implementation of NEP 2020 with little or no preparation is meaningless,” he said.

Similar apprehensions were expressed by a professor at Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi, with regard to the syllabus preparation in the backdrop of the provision for multiple exit options during the course period.

“At present, we prepare syllabus for three-year degrees and two-year master’s degree courses and include all the things required for these degrees. As per NEP, a student studying a 3-year or 4-year degree course has multiple exit options. If a student exits the course after one year or two years, he/she would get a certificate for one year and two years whichever is applicable. In such a situation, it is very difficult to prepare a syllabus that could suit all – those who complete the course and those who exit midway. As we don’t know who will exit and who will continue, we will be unable to provide a special teaching environment for quitting students,” he said. 

Degree colleges of the Higher Education Department in Karnataka have completed two semesters as per the NEP. However, in most government colleges, students appeared for two papers – Environmental Studies and Digital Fluency – without attending classes. A majority of the government colleges did not have teachers to handle these two mandatory subjects.

In colleges, where the BSc degree was offered, the science faculty did some extra classes to cover the syllabus of these two subjects. It was an arrangement made at the college level in the interest of students. However, the colleges that offered only Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce had no facility to cover these subjects.

“Our students have completed two semesters without attending classes in these two subjects. The intention of introducing these two subjects was good. But, it was not implemented properly,” pointed out a principal of a degree college.

Further, the proponents of NEP repeatedly said the new policy would encourage students to take up new subjects. A student of Arts can take up a Science subject as an open elective. However, this facility was not available in most of the colleges.

However, M. Shivshankar, lecturer in Department of Life Sciences, BU, said that certain challenges are common when any new method is being implemented and there will be both positives and negatives.

“All of a sudden when they recommend new disciplines and infrastructure, it gets a little difficult to provide them. Teaching of new subjects will be valid only when we bring in the right resource people. For now, we are bringing in experts within departments for this. Although we are making the best use of available resources currently, as teachers, we usually flag the lack of it to the admin department to make sure that it is covered by the time the next batch comes in.”

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