National Education Policy National

PM to roll out academic credit bank for almost 300 top institutions

Photo for representational purpose.  

On the first anniversary of the National Education Policy (NEP) on Thursday, the Centre plans to officially roll out some initiatives promised in the policy, such as a credit transfer system that will allow multiple entry and exit options in higher education, as well as engineering programmes in regional languages. However, other promised reforms such as the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), the four-year undergraduate degree, and the common university entrance test, are not ready yet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address policy makers as well as students and teachers in a video-conference event on Thursday to mark the anniversary, according to an Education Ministry statement. The initiatives he is expected to announce will improve the government’s report card on the policy’s implementation, which has also been slowed by COVID-19 disruptions.

The Academic Bank of Credit will be rolled out on Thursday for students in over 290 top institutions from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards. All institutions in the top 100 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework as well as those who have achieved an A grade under the National Assessment and Accreditation Council will be allowed to participate in the credit transfer system, which will also allow multiple entry and exit options for students, according to senior Education Ministry officials. However, the proposal for four-year undergraduate degrees has run into some opposition, especially from faculty at the premier University of Delhi, and will also have to wait for the National Higher Education Curricular Framework, which is still being prepared, they said.

Multidisciplinarity is also being encouraged with guidelines to be issued on Thursday to allow the merger of institutes as well as to give students the choice of taking subjects such as social sciences, music and sports while getting engineering degrees, or even get a minor degree in emerging areas while majoring in a different subject.

Although premier institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology have balked at the idea of introducing courses in Indian languages, Mr. Modi will announce the launch of engineering degrees in regional languages in about 14 smaller institutions. He will also announce the establishment of the National Digital Education Architecture and National Education Technology Forum.

“On the positive side, COVID has led to a vast increase in online education. Although it was envisaged in the NEP, no one thought digital education would pick up so quickly. On the other hand, there are of course some constraints [in NEP implementation] because there has been little physical interaction for over a year,” said Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare, commenting on the pandemic’s impact. He noted that while the government has made all preparations to roll out a common entrance test for all Central Universities, as promised under the NEP, it was postponed in order not to put students under further stress given all the other COVID-19 disruptions they have already faced this year.

With regard to the National Research Foundation, a Cabinet note has been prepared and is likely to be considered in August. The HECI Bill, however, is still entangled in objections from State governments as it proposes a new centralised education regulatory regime.

For school education, the NEP recommendation for a foundational literacy and numeracy mission has been carried out, although it has pushed back its target date by two years to 2026-27 given the school closures since March 2020. However, Mr. Modi will roll out Vidya Pravesh, a three-month play-based school preparation module for Class 1 students which was recommended by the NEP and gains greater importance given that the closure of pre-schools, nurseries and anganwadis means that most primary students have yet to step foot in a classroom.

A competency-based assessment framework for Classes 3, 5 and 8 will also be announced for students of the Central Board of Secondary Education. In fact, the NEP’s recommendation for continuous assessment has been given a boost by the fact that year-end Board examinations have largely been cancelled due to the pandemic. On the other hand, NEP proposals that require additional funding such as a free breakfast for all government school students have been delayed by the budget crunch caused by the pandemic.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 5:33:47 PM |

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