Editorial Analysis for 6th October 2020

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Re-imagining education in an India at 100


In 2047, a teacher’s role, based on five principles, will be to oversee the transformative re-birth of citizens.


  • Recently, India rekindled the conversation on its National Education Policy (NEP) in 2020.
  • According to Author, a policy is as good as it is actualised in practice and trying to explore the contours of national education practices leading to 2047 when politically independent India becomes 100 years old.

The next education practices can be viewed through the following design principles:

  1. Autonomy:
  • Greater autonomy for the educational institutes would entail greater leeway for the institutes in terms of regulations imposed by regulators like (UGC and AICTE) in these following dimensions:
    • Academic autonomy is intended mainly to decentralize decision making and create an enabling environment to improve the teaching-learning-evaluation process.
    • Autonomy would also imply greater learner autonomy as well.
    • There would be autonomy of the learner in creating his/her own curriculum at his/her own pace. This could allow the customization of the learning process as per his/her needs and capabilities. This could play a critical role in improving learning outcomes as well.

Why autonomy is required?

  • Autonomy of higher educational institutions/universities (HEIs) is often acknowledged as a necessity for excellence and improvement.

What are the steps taken?

  • Premier institutes like the IITs and IIMs have been granted autonomyin their day to day functioning.
  • One of the major provisions of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has been the phasing out of the system of affiliated colleges and the grant of greater autonomy in academic, administrative and financial mattersto the top-ranked colleges and universities of the country thereby envisaging a graded autonomy model for the educational institutes.

Technology driven education:

  • Given the ubiquitous nature of technology and the advantages it offers there needs to be a greater emphasis on technology-driven education.
    • Disruptive innovation like virtual reality will enable technology to give greater access to hitherto exclusive knowledge and fulfil unmet learner needs.
    • For example, a leading global engineering company, ABB, is using virtual reality to simulate a factory experience inside a school. Such technology-led innovation will take learning from cognition to immersion.

Trans-disciplinary education:

  • Trans-disciplinary learning is the exploration of a relevant concept, issue or problem that integrates the perspectives of multiple disciplines in order to connect new knowledge and deeper understanding to real life experiences.
  • Trans-disciplinarily is about creating a coherence of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives.
  • In a world that is going to be more complex and volatile, expertise from multiple disciplines will be required to construct an understanding of the real-life problems.
    • The current situation of the pandemic induced crisis is a case in point of the significance of a trans-disciplinary approach.
    • Overcoming the crisis induced by the pandemic would require medical scientists, economists, health workers and political scientists and more experts to bring their disciplinary depth to the table.

National Education Policy (NEP) roots for multi-disciplinary institutions:

  • The NEP 2020 proposes a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits, and multiple exits with certificates, diplomas and degrees.
  • By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students.
  • By 2030, there shall be at least one large multidisciplinary HEI in, or near, every district.
  • Education should not limit itself to knowledge enhancement in the students but must also aim at nurturing minds with values and global mindsets based on three classical values of India: Satyam (authenticity), Nityam (sustainability) and Purnam (wholeness).
  • The most valuable outcome of education is the becoming of a competent and compassionate human being.


  • Despite the best intentions of granting autonomy to the higher educational institutes, these efforts have yielded limited returns due to practical limitations.
  • The granting of autonomy to the premier institutes in India like the IIMs and IITs has resulted in no dramatic variation in the nature of autonomy of these institutes.
  • There continues to be the role of the government in the appointment and functioning of these institutes. The institutes continue to remain dependent for the capital resources on the government.

Way Ahead:

Though the NEP’s emphasis on technology is a welcome step, the context and purpose of technology adoption are equally important steps.

  • Universities and colleges should invest in ICT infrastructure keeping the larger goals of affordable, quality and inclusive education.
  • This can help ensure the country’s transformative journey towards a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

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