India with an illustrious history of holistic education has always been focussing on the pursuit of knowledge (Gyan), wisdom (Pragyaa) and truth (Sathyaa) as the highest human goal. As rightly said by Swami Vivekananda, “Education is not the amount of information that we put into our brain and run riots there, undigested, all through life. We must have life-building, man-making and character-making assimilation of ideas”. The Indian education system is the third largest system in the world. There have been changes worldwide in the higher education system. India for decades is largely focused on issues of access and equity but did not do much with regard to quality of education.
Apart from the National Education Policy of 1986, modified in 1992, there has not been any major change in the education policy at all. The changes need to stand against the challenges ahead of us especially in the changed context of globalisation without compromising on the legacy and heritage of ancient and eternal Indian knowledge systems.
There has been an exponential increase in the number of institutions and enrolment of students. There are nearly 1,043 universities and 45,000 colleges across India. This increase in the students strength and number of institutions have led to the decline of quality over the years with students’ mark-sheets not reflecting the calibre of the students. The Government of India (GOI), through UGC, has been taking earnest steps to chalk out quality enhancement measures.
With the introduction of New Education Policy (NEP-2020), the quality enhancement initiatives have gained a momentum. Accreditation agencies like NAAC, NBA too have been making changes in their assessment and methodologies with a view to enhance the quality of higher education.
All universities have almost done away with the annual examination pattern. The semester system has come to stay. Many of the institutions have started implementing choice based credit systems (CBCS) of course not in full spirit. Curriculum revisions have been undertaken every 3-5 years. Introduction of modern teaching methodologies have brought in ICT-enabled classrooms. With pandemic playing havoc, many of the institutions were holding classes through online platforms. MOOC and NPTEL courses have been patronised by UGC and Ministry of Education (MOE) in a big way.
Bridging the Gap
Unfortunately all these changes have not yielded fruits in a big way. The teaching takes place but does learning take place is the question. There is a greater need for bridging the gap between teaching and learning. It is sad that job-ready graduates do not emerge out of the portals of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
There is a greater need for bridging the gap between teaching and learning. It is sad that job-ready graduates do not emerge out of the portals of Higher Education Institutions
Although several lakhs of engineering graduates come into the job market hardly 20 per cent are employable. With India being a signatory in Washington and Seoul accords, greater acceptance of Indian graduates abroad was expected. To enable Indian graduates to get accepted on par with their counterparts in other countries, Outcome Based Education (OBE) has been proposed. The NEP-2020 expects HEIs to move on to a criterion based grading system which assess students achievements based on the learning goals for each programme.
With the implementation of OBE, embedded in the NEP-2020, it is expected that students develop Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) with enhanced competencies in analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. The OBE lays emphasis on the products and insist on skill sets acquired by the students upon completion of the programme. The OBE approach is quite opposite of the input based education where the emphasis is on the process rather than on the product.
UGC, in the recent past, has come up with National Education Qualification Framework in which the learning outcome descriptors are clearly spelt out for Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Diploma and Post Graduate programmes. National Qualification Framework has been arrived at, based on the essence of international efforts such as the Bologna process and European qualification framework.
Learning outcome descriptors are designed to develop well rounded individuals who are able to tackle emerging globalism through building capacities in fields across arts, humanities, languages, social sciences, sciences and professional/technical and vocational fields. A holistic multidisciplinary education is being contemplated so that students can respond vibrantly to the requirements of the fourth industrial revolution.
It is certain that if this system is implemented it could empower the students to enhance their capabilities and employment potential
Based on the graduate attributes of the institutions and the programme educational objectives, generic and specific outcomes are arrived at for various programmes/courses. These outcomes include knowledge, skills and attitude. The institutions are required to frame the curriculum, plan appropriately the delivery strategies and adopt proper assessment methodologies so that the students are able to attain the course outcomes as well as the programme outcomes. Since it is required that the attainment of these outcomes are checked at the end of the course/programme, the institutions have to design their own rubrics for testing the attainments. Teachers need to be trained through HRDC centres on mapping of outcomes and testing the attainment of outcomes in a proper way. It requires greater deliberations and willing participation of all teachers in these exercises. It is certain that if this system is implemented it could empower the students to enhance their capabilities and employment potential. It is also certain that curriculum will be more focused and assessment methodologies will not just test the recalling skills alone but also test the knowledge levels expected of employable graduates.