National educational policy 2020 released after 34 of years of existing educational system has taken into account the changing trends in education and career sector across the globe. At a time when services sector supersedes primary agriculture and secondary industrial sectors, this assumes more significant. NEP envisages in improving the quality of education at different levels. This addresses major issues like student enrollment in schools and higher education institutions, employability, skill development and global education. Allocation of 6 percent of GDP funding for education will be one of the major recommendations in the NEP. Some of the thrust areas include language education, skill development, revamping school education system including convergence of plus two with secondary education and the measures to improve gross enrollment ratio. It envisages in improving the overall quality of education in tune with global standards. A child will get the opportunity to start learning from four years onwards. NEP stipulates two years of pre-primary education. At a time global village concept is acquiring momentum, this assumes more significance. As part of this, overseas educational institutions can start campuses in India. Recommendation for universities within the first 200 ranking can establish campuses in India and will be beneficial to thousands of students who are aspiring for education abroad. On an average 4-5 lakh students from India are pursuing higher education in overseas universities. This will facilitate Indian students to pursue higher education from world ranking university campuses from India itself at a lesser cost. Annually one lakh students from India are taking admission in abroad universities for under graduate, graduate, master’s and doctoral programmes.
Recent findings of NASSCOM reveal that employability among graduates in India is getting reduced due to poor skilling ecosystem. Even though basic objective of education is to improve knowledge, skill and attitude of the students, unfortunately Indian education system lack in creating appropriate attitudinal changes and skill development among students. There lies a huge gap between available and required skills among educated youth in India which affects their employability. Employability among graduates is only 22-23 percent in the country. NEP addresses this issue through facilitating skill development programmes from 6th standard onwards in the school education system.
Moreover Poor academia industry interface affects the employability of students. Taking in to account the need for improving employability, NEP 2020 recommends industry tuned courses and skill development programmes.
NEP recommends multidisciplinary education and research to promote applied and global education. It has been envisaged to increase the gross enrollment ratio in the higher education sector in India by 40-50 percent by 2030. Higher education institutions will get the opportunity to become autonomous so as to offer appropriate academic and research programmes.
There exists different level of regulatory bodies in the school and higher education sector including professional education. NEP recommends Higher education council of India as a regulatory body instead of several agencies like UGC, NAC, AICTE, etc. except for medical and law education. National testing agency will become the unique body for conducting entrance examinations for under graduate and post graduate programmes in India.
Covid 19 facilitated new challenges in business environment across the world and affected the employment sector. NEP guidelines facilitate the educational institutions to frame appropriate skill development programmes so as to improve the employability of students during the post Covid 19 phase. Unemployment in the unorganized sector increased during the post Covid 19 phase across the globe. It is the need of the hour to repatriate them with appropriate employment ventures through skilling interventions. It can be in the form of up skilling of the existing workers or reskilling programmes. Some of the sectors with more opportunities in the post lockdown period include digital technologies, English communication, automation, health care and skill development. E commerce, e learning, data analytics, augmented reality, machine learning, cyber security, process automation and self service capabilities will exhibit spectacular growth during the post lockdown period. Annually skill institutes across the country are training 10 million youth to improve their employability.
There are umpteen opportunities for skilling institutions to offer stakeholder based market centred programmes. Frame work for effective collaboration with Co-operatives, industries, edu tech companies, skill councils and National skill Development Corporation will pave way for offering short term to medium level courses. It has been envisaged that the world will witness some of the biggest technology trends like Artificial intelligence, Robotics, drones and vehicle automation, 5G enhanced connectivity, virtual and augmented reality and on demand cloud based platforms and services during 2021. As a sequel to disruptions created during 2020 due to Covid 19, expectations for the year 2021 will be very high.
Health care, education, skill development, agribusiness and food processing will exhibit spectacular growth. After the global economic recession due to Covid 19 pandemic, 2021 will witness increase in number of educated unemployed youths in the country. Globally automation will grow at a faster pace since more than 50 percent of the jobs will move towards automation. Unemployment rate among all classes of labour force will be high. Change of careers will become a regular phenomenon in the coming years. On an average the person may change the career 3-5 times during the life time. There will be change in selecting the study pattern with the same subject from undergraduate- masters- doctoral research. Employees must be compelled to move out from their comfort zone and to do up skilling or re-skilling programmes or brand new habits to succeed in their career. Artificial intelligence will replace short term and routine jobs in the near future and will replace creative and knowledge based jobs.
Implementation of National education policy 2020 will take off during 2021 which will create substantial changes in school and higher education system. More focus will be given for language studies and skill development during school education period itself. Interdisciplinary research, common entrance examination for under graduate programmes, changes in regulatory system as higher education commission of India, promotion of overseas education, twinning programmes, multidisciplinary research, autonomous nature of higher education institutions, etc. will be implemented during 2021 which will facilitate sustainable changes in the Indian education system during the coming decade. Focus will be on creative economy for sustainable development. Digital economy will show robust growth. AI and Robotics will rule the world. Disruptive technologies and innovation will facilitate disruption in life. Working with machines, connectivity and entrepreneurship will acquire momentum. Research on Health, life sciences and farming systems will improve in the coming years for which NEP will act as a catalyst for facilitating appropriate changes.
(Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan is a renowned Education and Career consultant in India and currently working as Director, UL Education, Kozhikode. E mail- firstname.lastname@example.org)