‘Do what you like’, and ‘Like what you do’
Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills – so that they can design their own paths of study and life plans. There will be no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extra-curricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’ or ‘academic’ streams. the introduction of contemporary subjects such as Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, Holistic Health, Organic Living, Environmental Education, Global Citizenship Education (GCED), etc. at relevant stages will be undertaken to develop these various important skills in students at all levels. Activities involving coding will be introduced in Middle Stage. Art-integrated education will be embedded in classroom transactions not only for creating joyful classrooms, but also for imbibing the Indian ethos through integration of Indian art and culture in the teaching and learning process at every level. Sports-integrated learning will be undertaken in classroom transactions to help students adopt fitness as a lifelong attitude and to achieve the related life skills along with the levels of fitness. Imaginative and flexible curricular structures will enable creative combinations of disciplines for study, and would offer multiple entry and exit points, thus, removing currently prevalent rigid boundaries and creating new possibilities for life-long learning. All students will be allowed to take Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired.
NEP 2020 aims to achieve that every student is an expert in at least one skill when they graduate from the course. This, when combined with the blurring of arts and science disciplines opens up avenues for inter-disciplinary learning and life skills education. Vocational courses will be available right up to the Bachelor’s level, by which time a student is likely to have developed some specific interests. Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
Departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, and other such subjects needed for a multidisciplinary, stimulating Indian education and environment will be established and strengthened at all Higher Education Institutions (HEI). Credits will be given in all Bachelor’s Degree programmes for these subjects if they are done from such departments or through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode when they are not offered in-class at the HEI. As per the NEP 2020 Academic Bank of Credit, when implemented, will help a student create an account in which he/she can gather credits from not one but several sources like MOOCs, distance learning programs, workshops et cetera. This will then be instrumental in evaluation and award of final degree. Thus, platforms like Swayam will become relevant in adding more to the students’ resume. As part of a holistic education, students at all HEIs will be provided with opportunities for internships with local industry, businesses, artists, crafts persons, etc., as well as research internships with faculty and researchers at their own or other HEIs/research institutions, so that students may actively engage with the practical side of their learning and, as a by-product, further improve their employability.
The structure and lengths of degree programmes shall be adjusted accordingly. The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor ’s degree after a 3-year programme. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the student. The 4-year programme may also lead to a degree ‘with Research’ if the student completes a rigorous research project in their major area(s) of study as specified by the HEI.
HEIs will have the flexibility to offer different designs of Master’s programmes:
- There may be a 2-year programme with the second year devoted entirely to research for those who have completed the 3-year Bachelor ’s programme;
- For students completing a 4-year Bachelor ’s programme with Research, there could be a 1-year Master’s programme; and
- There may be an integrated 5-year Bachelor’s/Master’s programme. Undertaking a Ph.D. shall require either a Master’s degree or a 4-year Bachelor’s degree with Research.
The M.Phil. programme shall be discontinued. All assessment systems shall also be decided by the HEI, including those that lead to final certification. Universities and colleges will thus be required to set up high-quality support centres to give adequate funds and academic resources for socially disadvantage students. There will also be professional academic and career counselling available to all students, as well as counsellors to ensure physical, psychological and emotional well-being.
Stand-alone agricultural universities, legal universities, health science universities, technical universities, and stand-alone institutions in other fields, shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions offering holistic and multidisciplinary education. High-quality programmes and degrees in Translation and Interpretation, Art and Museum Administration, Archaeology, Artefact Conservation, Graphic Design, and Web Design within the higher education system will also be created in order to preserve and promote its art and culture, develop high-quality materials in various Indian languages, conserve artefacts, develop highly qualified individuals to curate and run museums and heritage or tourist sites, thereby also vastly strengthening the tourism industry.
To sum up the NEP 2020 will most definitely encourage decision-making in students at a young age.