Introduction Since education is a concurrent subject, the Centre and the State Governments need to work in collaboration with each other and it cannot be said that one is superior to the other. The Centre ought to take the States into confidence; already, the enrolment in the degree courses is declining year after year, in the arts, science, and engineering streams in the semi-urban towns and cities in States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In these circumstances, making entrance examinations compulsory for even the BA or the various degree courses in subjects like Chemistry will be resisted by the State Governments. Already, there have been protests in Karnataka.
Hence, the solution will be to empower the State Governments with a broad framework for action. For example, the New Education Policy talks about a four-year Honors course, with a certificate, diploma, and degree, and then Honors levels for the first, second year, third year, and fourth year of study. The flexibility to peruse the course, even after two years, does not make any sense at all; those with certificates or diploma certificates will not get any jobs. Furthermore, it is also understood that some Central Authority will even determine the syllabus for many courses.
Such stipulations are very dangerous for the federal structure of education. The alternative is to a) Allow enough autonomy in all courses b) Make experiments in new courses and innovate later c) Make vocational education go hand in hand with internship d) Make learning possible in local languages and e) Enable sharing of knowledge on a pan-India basis.
Allow enough autonomy in all courses Deemed Universities such as SRM University and the autonomous Loyola College Chennai, have already become leading institutions with the best of placement records and enviable learning environments.
The next step is to look around and check for one State University where innovations are done to some extent. This can be any University, in any State. There should be wide publicity for such co-operation, as the experiment could through up a number of new and interesting possibilities. To give just one example, if the BBA course offered by the aforesaid Loyola College, Chennai, is considered to be and ranked as of the best in India, it cannot be for just one reason. It is well known that this college offers a learning environment where the acquisition of knowledge and continuous learning often occurs far ahead of the syllabus. This is one big reason why this sort of learning should be replicated elsewhere. That is, an entire ecosystem of bright students and teachers can develop something out-of-the-box and this learning can be extrapolated to other environments too.
As such State Universities are constrained by too many regulations. They cannot afford to keep on innovating, as those who desire a particular form of status quo, far outnumber those who think differently. Yet, the scope for innovation in NEP is so huge. Hence the UGC and the State Governments should now amend the particular laws and make the transition possible. Once the State Universities are given the freedom to keep on offering new electives in line with global environments, other changes will follow. A beginning can be made with just one or two State Universities like the Bharatiyar University Coimbatore.
For instance, there could be an MOU between SRM and this University to learn from each other. A new course on Post-Graduate Diploma in Capital Markets can be easily introduced. The PG Diploma can be a part-time course conducted in Chennai, on the weekends. The eligibility can be any graduate. Once the student completes the one-year course, he can study further for a Master's Degree in Capital Markets, which can be offered as a full-time one-year course with active collaboration with a good Mutual Fund such as the HDFC Mutual Fund. Since the students will be readily employed by such a Mutual Fund, everything will easily fall into place. This is the innovation that is called for. This Master's Degree can be offered in two cities, with an understanding that those who study at Coimbatore, will get the Bharatiyar University certificate, while those who study at Chennai, will be offered the degree by SRM.
Make experiments in new courses and innovate laterThis is a continuation of the aforesaid point. A bold attempt should be made to introduce courses that are in huge demand. For example, Data Analytics. Since the State Governments will receive some grant or other from the State Government, it is possible to keep on introducing such courses, even in the arts and science colleges. In the course of time, there will be a massive change in terms of innovation, based on learning from successful experiences. is.
Make vocational education go hand in hand with internshipThe internship should start right after the first year. That is, during the summer vacation of the second and third years. For example, a group of BBA students can observe the emergence of organized retail in two towns in the same district. Learning from the field can come from anywhere. Even NGOs can offer useful lessons. It is for educators to think of various possibilities. Vocational education should become industry-oriented. For example, combine History with tourism and Marketing with Advertising Management in a big way.
Make learning possible in local languagesThis is not a new idea at all. Learning up to the UG and PG levels is quite possible in too many Indian languages. The only issue is to continue learning English, which is a global language, and enable the transition to be smooth as well. For example, a B.Com student should be made to compulsorily read English business newspapers like the Economic Times, where a wealth of knowledge can be found. It has to be noted that the local business newspapers do not carry such advanced information in any Indian language and not knowing English should not become a big handicap at any stage.
Enable sharing of knowledge on a pan-India basisThis is a vital issue. However, since online learning is here to stay, this can be a relatively easy affair. We need some initiative at various levels and when that happens, the learning for innovation at various stages will lead to sharing of knowledge at various levels. Seminars and workshops can be conducted across India, on a regular basis, through the online medium to facilitate this sort of learning.
ConclusionWe need innovation at every stage. The Autonomous Colleges and the Deemed Universities should take the lead to enable learning and experimentation with a highly innovative agenda at every stage. There is an urgent need to amend the particular laws that can easily facilitate this sort of a transition.