NEP will dissolve existing silos in education: UGC vice chairman

‘Students have different capabilities. Why can’t we respect that? This is the central focus of the NEP’

July 31, 2020 07:14 pm | Updated 07:14 pm IST - CHENNAI

The UGC’s Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework for Undergraduate Education had put the students’ interest at the core, said Bhushan Patwardhan, vice chairman of the University Grants Commission.

The National Academic Credit Bank, introduced in December and now part of the National Education Policy 2020, envisages giving students the opportunity to learn as per their own interest. The NEP is for dissolving the existing silos, even for medical education, and calling for an integration of modern medicine with ancient systems such as AUYSH, he said. “Students have different capabilities. Why can’t we respect that? This is the central focus of the NEP,” he said.

It did not mean that the institutions had no say in curriculum preparation, though. A graduating student must acquire soft skills. The teacher must identify why students attainment of a programme is poor. Institutions must audit and verify if the target of outcome based education is met, he said. “We are more interested in how the institution is doing. OBE is student-centric. It is the basic philosophy. We ask the institution to check the shortcomings,” he said.

He was speaking at a webinar on Curriculum Enrichment hosted by Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research here on Friday. An outcome-based curriculum is designed based on the feedback from students, industry, alumni and teachers. Though the basic structure for all institutions is the same, autonomous colleges can vary the curriculum based on regional requirements, strength of the faculty and the institution’s strength, Mr. Patwardhan explained.

“If students are underachieving in a programme then it is because the curriculum is not challenging to students,” said K. Rama, advisor to the National Accreditation and Assessment Board. Institutions must encourage students to develop skills by offering value-added courses that amounts to technical training – humanities or technical.

While curriculum and teaching are central to educational quality, the focus is students’ experience in learning. “What are the types of student experiences; why are students under achieving? To keep students engaged either you can add activities such as field visits, projects, and solving problems – value added courses ar those aimed at encourging students to develop skills, skill oriented technical training. Post-COVID-19 would require institutions to consider ‘curriculum compacting’. “Since students mindsets may have changed, it is necessary to plan and re-plan rethink about quality of curriculum enrichment; remodel value added courses,” she added.

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