The National Education Policy, 2020 has not only garnered support from education experts and industry giants, but has also drawn confusion, apprehension and criticism from students and educationists. On the one hand, technical skills and multidisciplinary courses have been projected as being in demand, the future of social science degrees, for employment opportunities, remains questionable.
Dr D Chennappa, Professor of Commerce at Osmania University, Hyderabad, spoke to The Hans India about the apprehensions of teachers and students about the National Education Policy 2020 and the worrying future of basic subjects and social sciences while the central government strives to promote multidisciplinary technical subjects.
Many industry experts have claimed that with the inclusion of NEP 2020, the country will see an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and freelancers. Dr Chennappa said the rise in the number of self-employed people distracts from the fact that there is a lack of regularized government jobs.
“Although more and more people are opting for app-based start-ups or professional businesses, the NEP encourages students not to depend on the government for regularized jobs. This is the intention of the NEP.
But the intention (of educators and professors) is that if employment is a different aspect, students’ interest in basic fundamental knowledge should be ensured and an application-oriented social science curriculum should also come out . »
Dr Chennappa said that with all major industries moving towards automation and cloud computing, the future of core subjects such as business and humanities remains unknown. The humanities are not at a disadvantage, but rather need to catch up with industry demand and upgrade skills in line with the 21st century. He says that one cannot escape or run away from complex technologies such as artificial intelligence or drone technology, because the world is constantly changing.
Policy makers claim that the NEP is a holistic approach to some of the new concepts such as multidisciplinary courses and technical training. But in order to undergo this, students may also have to deal with some pressure,” said Dr Chennappa.
“In my opinion, this multidisciplinary approach is good to a certain extent, but students also need to learn fundamental subjects. While students study subjects such as mechanical engineering, they can also be introduced to psychology, entrepreneurship, to demographic studies. The objective must be to retain the main subject,” he added.
Complementary subjects are beneficial, the focus should not be diverted from the core curriculum of a stream. In 2020, the University Grants Commission (UGC) unveiled the Learning Outcomes-Based Curriculum Framework (LOCF) for all undergraduate courses, in which students will be assessed using written exams and practices, project work, homework and presentations. Each theoretical subject will be four credits and practical including a game and an athletic or sports event for two credits each.
The supreme education body had also announced that the idea of LOCF was to decide the desired outcome under the current Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. , and then design the program to achieve those results. Outcomes will be determined in terms of skills, knowledge, understanding, employability, graduate attributes, attitudes, values, etc., acquired by students at the end of the course.
On the introduction of skill-based technical courses, Dr Chennappa says: “Our intention is that whatever additional subjects, skill enhancement should be introduced without disrupting the core subjects. For example, if there is a bachelor of commerce student, without teaching a lot of accounting, and just teach them environmental science or yoga, the student will not have a bachelor of commerce, it will be a simple baccalaureate.”
Many teachers and students have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of attention given to social science subjects under the new NEP, he said.
“The central government can issue guidelines, but the implementation part has to be taken care of by the state governments. But some states are not responding to the call to implement the national education policy. What I believe is that the policy (NEP 2020) is good, but the financial support must come from the central government and the state government to be able to implement it,” he said.
Asked about the response of students and staff at Osmania University to the NEP 2020, Dr Chennappa said there was a lot of confusion about the implementation of the program and there was a need to raise awareness about the both the positive and negative aspects of it. .