ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Challenges Facing New Education Policy in India

The New Education Policy on the anvil should encourage academic talent and innovation to make the system of higher education more responsive to the needs of various stakeholders instead of just attempting to create a uniform standardised structure. To ensure this, political and bureaucratic interference in educational institutions, which has steadily eroded the quality of higher education in India, will have to be minimised, academic autonomy strengthened and diverse opinions taken into account while building a new policy framework.

The article is based on the author’s presentation made at the consultation meeting on “Linking Higher Education to Society” at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla on 27–28 August 2015.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Silicon Valley in California, the United States (US) in September 2015 was about technology and attracting both talented Indians and investment in technology in India. It highlights the fact that the best go abroad, leaving the country short of talent. The gross enrolment ratio in the country has risen sharply in the last decade but industry complains that most students are unemployable. The President of India via video conferencing addressed students and faculty of institutions of higher learning in India and said, “India does not have even one truly outstanding institution among 700 universities and over 36,000 colleges.” He pointed to a “casual” approach to higher education and stressed the need to “improve academic management.”

Higher education has also come in for adverse comments from Amartya Sen, Narayana Murthy and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan. While none of them have experience of the ground-level problems plaguing higher education in India, their concerns are valid. If they remain unaddressed, “skilling India” and reaping “demographic dividend” will remain distant goals. Would the New Education Policy (NEP)on the anvil take up these challenges?

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