Here are the important details of the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 by the Karnataka government.
Karnataka had shown its intention to become the first state to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) with the release of a government order on 7 August 2021 for its execution.
With the launch of the admissions module on Monday (23 August), the state has officially begun the process of implementation of the policy. The NEP will be implemented for the upcoming undergraduate academic year (2021-22), which is scheduled to start from 1 October.
To ensure that all stakeholders are properly informed about the new policy being set in motion, the government has planned various awareness activities, including NEP Helpline at the state, university and college levels, college-level weekly orientation programmes for students and guardians, etc. The Education Department is also planning to conduct awareness workshops for all teachers across the state.
The major changes which will be implemented this year are the common portal for higher education, revised programme structure and internationalisation of education.
Common Portal for Higher Education
The government has launched the Unified University and College Management System (UUCMS), which is envisaged to be the enabling platform for the implementation of NEP. The UUCMS portal will serve multiple purposes of students, faculty as well as higher educational institutions.
The specific modules that it intends to cover include admissions, academics and class monitoring which includes attendance, examination, HR Management, affiliation, library management, student support and research and development. It is similar to the National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR) launched by the central government.
The NEP had proposed a multidisciplinary undergraduate programme with multiple entry and exit points to remove rigid boundaries. Under the new policy being implemented in Karnataka, students will be allowed to select two core subjects, unlike the current programmes where colleges normally offer triple majors under which students specialise in three subjects. Additionally, students will also be allowed to choose another open elective from any faculty. This would enable multidisciplinary education as envisaged under the NEP.
Kannada will be compulsorily taught to students along with another additional language which will be left to the choice of students. Apart from this, Health and Wellness courses and Skill and Ability Enhancement courses will be taught to students.
Multiple Entry and Exit Points
The NEP had proposed multiple entry and exit points for undergraduate courses to provide flexibility to students. Under the new policy of Karnataka, completion of one year would make a student eligible to receive a certificate, completion of two years would make the student eligible for a diploma certificate, and completion of three years would make the student eligible for a degree certificate.
Apart from this, the student can pursue a four-year honours degree, with the coursework for the fourth year mainly being research, internship or entrepreneurship. Students who complete honours degree with research component will be eligible to directly enter PhD course. Masters courses will either be for a period of one year or two years. Moreover, 40 per cent of credits can be earned through authorised online courses.
Internationalisation of Education
The Department of Technical Education (DTE) is collaborating with two American colleges - Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) to offer twinning programmes in Cyber Security and Travel and Tourism.
Under this, diplomas and associate degrees would be awarded, with Karnataka being the first state to offer diploma degrees in twinning format.
Regulatory System for Higher Education
The government has also planned to restructure the regulatory system for higher education in the state. Although the exact timeline for its implementation is not known, it has announced the revised structure, which is similar to the structure proposed in the NEP at the national level.
The Karnataka State Higher Education Council/ Commission (KSHEC) would be the apex body for higher education under the new regulatory regime, which would be responsible for general oversight. Under KSHEC, there would be four Councils, with each Council responsible for accreditation, funding, regulation and research and innovation.
Other Initiatives Announced
At the launch event, which took place earlier this week, the government announced a new Digitalisation and Research and Development Policy and a Primary and Secondary Education Council. Apart from this, to ensure successful implementation of NEP, the government announced the facilitation of broadband network to all villages and distribution of tablet PCs to students joining first-year undergraduate courses.