Vice Chancellors’ Round Table on NEP held at VoW
By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 17 Dec: A roundtable of Vice Chancellors (VCs) of various universities on the New Education Policy (NEP) was held on the concluding day of the Valley of Words Literature & Arts Festival, here, today.
The Session was chaired by former Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand, N Ravi Shankar, while the participants were Prof Surekha Dangwal, VC of Doon University; Dr Rajendra Dobhal, VC of Swami Ram Himalaya University; Dr Ram Sharma, VC of UPES: Dr Sanjay Jasola, VC of Graphic Era Hill University; and Dr Narpindra Singh, VC of Graphic Era Deemed University. The session was moderated by Amna Mirza.
N Ravi Shankar initiated the discussion and requested Prof Dr Surekha Dangwal to share her opinion on the New Education Policy. Prof Dangwal asserted that the New Education Policy is a revolutionary step. She stated that the Doon University was one of the first to adopt the new policy and now the third semester is in progress under NEP. She added that NEP offers a lot of academic flexibility to the students who wish to follow different streams at the same time. This is one of the core elements of the NEP, whereas the old policy had created sharp compartmentalisation of various subjects and streams and did not suit the modern requirements of society, the market and the country.
She further felt that the NEP incorporates the Indian value system and ethics as part of the curriculum and also aims at development of critical analytical abilities among the students and encourages evidence-based research. Even at the school level, the NEP aims to inculcate Indian traditional knowledge and values among the children whereas, under the earlier system, the students were often forced to learn nursery rhymes to which they could not even relate and also often forced to recite these poems and rhymes before the guests by the parents. In contrast to this, the NEP connects the students to the roots and then through that to the whole world as also pointed out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The NEP has the potential to change the entire scenario of education in India.
Dr Ram Sharma reminded that the language for teaching is not so relevant and that he does not believe that the children have to necessarily be taught in their mother tongue only. It is the knowledge of the core subject which matters rather than the language in which that has been taught. He cited his own case and said that he comes from Rajasthan and had started learning English in class 6 and till BSc studied even Physics in Hindi medium. However, when needed, he picked up English. He also felt that the purpose of Education should be to create problem solvers. He also praised the NEP and said that integrated knowledge is becoming the need of the hour and that NEP offers this opportunity. To resolve the specific problems in practical life, one may require knowledge in several spheres and use of various streams of knowledge simultaneously.
Dr Rajendra Dobhal insisted that science is integral to the country’s development and not so much as social science. He cited various sectors like space science, IT and medical science which he described as critical to India’s progress. He also felt that Universities’ collaboration with Industry is not always productive because due to business constraints, industries often manipulate research conducted under PPP by the universities.
Dr Sanjay Jasola focused on how youth should become ‘job-givers’ instead of ‘job-seekers’ with a fourth Industrial Revolution. He did not agree that the best of minds are leaving the country for education. He said that CEOs of many top global companies are Indians educated in India and not just in IITs. He also cited the example of ISRO scientists who have been creating waves with missions such as Chandrayan Mission and said that most of these scientists had their education in government schools and universities. He also cited the need for NEP and for imparting critical thought process among the students.
Dr Narpindra Singh stated that, in certain fields, Indian universities lacked the necessary infrastructure and therefore did not encourage deep research. He said that both his daughters had to leave the country for higher education because of this very reason. Singh also spoke about the importance of passion in educational endeavours. Amna Mirza summed up the session.