University of Hyderabad hosted a public lecture on the ‘Draft National Educational Policy: Key Features of Higher Education’ delivered by the Chairman of National Educational Policy (NEP), Dr. K Kasturirangan at Savitribai Phule – DST Auditorium. Vice Chancellor of UoH, Prof. Appa Rao Podile presided over the event and introduced the speaker. Dr. K Kasturirangan is an eminent scientist who headed Indian Space Research Organization from 1994 to 2003 and headed various other eminent institutes. He is a former member of Rajya Sabha (2003-2009) and former member of Planning Commission of India. He is also a recipient of major civilian award Padma Vibhushan in 2000. He was felicitated by the Vice Chancellor after the lecture. Vote of Thanks is delivered by Pro-Vice-Chancellor – 2 Prof. B Raja Sekhar.

This lecture is vital in communicating the spirit of National Educational Policy to the public and further strengthening the document through discourse. Apart from covering all aspects of NEP, higher education was discussed in detail for the benefit of students and professors present in the audience.

The National Policy on Education is being revisited after two and a half decades, last revision came in 1992. Revision of NEP is the need of the hour since the old policies having some pitfalls and were ignorant of the Internet. Internet is making inroads in all walks of life and mainly in education and with Information Technology boom we need a new policy to address these issues. NEP is being developed by many eminent scholars covering all fields of education, with many discussions held across the country. The document is also being peer reviewed.

NEP covers education from Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) to adult education. It focuses on both governance and quality of education. It plans to implement Right to Education till secondary education. Focus on higher education for knowledge creation which will in turn aid National Income. Current problems in higher education like fragmentation and research quality are addressed through consolidation of current 900 universities and 40,000 colleges into 15,000 large universities with three classifications i.e. Research Institutes, Teaching Institutes, and Autonomous Institutes.

A quality liberal education will be pursued with focus both on Sciences and Arts and scope for community service. Courses with creative combination of disciplines will be provided. There will be multiple exit and entry points for academic programmes. Flexible master’s programmes will be provided in this changing academic environment. Faculty will be decoupled with administrative to aid their research work. There will be special emphasis on promotion of Indian languages. It plans to achieve 100% adult education by 2030.

A gradual phasing out of contractual faculty, recruitment of full time employees will take place and focus will be put on teacher training in Multidisciplinary Universities.

Currently only 0.7% of GDP is spent on R&D in India, a 0.2% increase in R&D investment will lead to 1.1% increase in total GDP. In this regard National Research Foundation will be constituted as an autonomous body by an act of Parliament. Union Grants Commission will become Higher Education Commission of India. A National Educational Technology Forum will be formed to integrate technology and education. Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog will be formed to give leadership in this endeavour which will be headed by the Prime Minister.

Eminent Educationists, Controller of Examinations, Principals of Autonomous colleges from the state of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have attended the Public Lecture. They are also the participants of he two-day National workshop on ‘Evaluation Reforms in Higher Education Institutions’ organised by University Grants Commission on UoH campus. 

by Lokesh Naik, Department of Communication,UoH