Education in the Indian context has a very long history. Beginning with the gurukuls and universities of Nalanda and Takshashila of the Ancient Indian times, India has had a rich heritage of history that was knowledge oriented and a system that prepared the individuals for the long life that lay ahead of them. However, the present condition of education is drastically detached from the knowledge based systems of the past.
A brief reflection of the education experience
In the age of globalization, the age of hierarchical structures need to be revisited and revamped. The structures need to have less hierarchy with shorter employee tenures and more competition. The nature of work also needs to be reworked, the soft skills need to be given prominence than hard skills, there should also be the provision to do 30% of work from home. It is common knowledge that Google has answers to most, if not all embedded and codified information. Hence, there needs to be more emphasis on tacit knowledge and not rote learning.
Education and employment
The hurdles on the path to bring about these changes are numerous varying from fee inflation, political tensions on global, local, and traditional fronts and also third-party financing viability. Because of the exorbitant fee structure of the institutions, many can’t afford them from their pockets. According to the CMIE, the unemployment rate in India stood at 9.1% in December 2020. Apart from the COVID-19 crisis, the lack of employability for a vast majority of the students, and the lower productivity on part of the workers has a lot to do with the fact that learning is driven by supply and not demand.
Five regulatory changes
According to Mr. Manish Sabharwal, the Chairman and co-founder of Teamlease Services, changes need to occur on five fronts to enable the enrollment of five crore incremental employed learners viz.,
- Modification of Part 3 and Part 8 of the UGC Act 1956 for the inclusion of skill universities.
- Removal of clauses 3(A), 3(B), and clause 5 of UGC ODL and Online Regulations, 2020 and replacing them with a blanket and automatic approval for all accredited universities to design, develop and deliver their online programmes.
- Modification of clause 4(C)(ii) of UGC online regulations 2020 for the integration of flexibility and innovation in an online curriculum.
- Modification of clauses 13(C)(3), 13(C)(5), 13(C)(7), 18(2) of UGC Online Regulations, 2020 to give universities the provision to partner ecosystems for providing best online learning platforms, services, and experiences.
- Introduction of universities in clause 2 of the Apprentices Act, 1961 in order to enable all accredited universities to start, manage and measure all aspects of degree apprenticeship programmes.
Through the five regulatory changes, Gross Enrollment Ratio will be broadened to include Employed Learner Ratio. Mr. Manish Sabharwal also opines that the de-facto ban that exists on online degree learning needs to be changed.
In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, we find great wisdom: “We don’t learn from experience but from reflecting on experience.” To bring about reforms in the education system, the government has to approach it holistically and innovatively.
This article has been written by Ruchira Sharma for The Paradigm
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