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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

UGC chairman wants Karnataka govt. not to scrap NEP

University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar on Monday said the Karnataka government should reconsider its decision to scrap the National Education Policy-2020, keeping the interests of the students in mind as the policy has set an ambitious goal of improving the gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education to 50 per cent by 2035. As nearly 65 per cent of students come from rural backgrounds, the interests of those students had been kept in mind while framing the policy, he stated.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Prof. Kumar, who was here to participate in the 14th convocation of JSS AHER, said students would suffer if NEP-2020 was not implemented as envisaged since it aims to give best learning opportunities to the students with a four-year UG course besides dual degree programmes. The reforms that it brings aim to transform higher education, he added.

Maintaining that the response to the NEP-2020 in various States has been overwhelming, he said the UGC has been constantly interacting with the Chief Secretaries of the States and the vice-chancellors in five zones in the country on the implementation of NEP-2020.

To a question on the Karnataka government’s decision to replace NEP-2020 with the Karnataka State Education Policy (SEP), with a 15-member expert committee constituted for framing the policy, he said the government must look into the interests of the students while taking decisions as it’s going to be a loss for the students if the NEP-2020 was not implemented in the State.

While admitting that the State universities were facing shortage of teaching faculties, he said the state government must take steps to fill up the vacant posts in the interests of students. Faculty appointments play a major role in improving the academic and research activities in the centers of higher learning.

He said the National Digital University lays emphasis on imparting skills to learners as the companies that hire people stress the skills the prospective employees hold besides degrees. “The university will be very flexible in curriculum, courses and so on.”

Prof. Kumar said the Centre has constituted the National Research Fund (NRF) with a corpus of ₹50,000 crore, with a sum of ₹30,000 crore coming from the industries. The State universities will get funding under NRF and R&D cells are being opened in all universities in a bid to give a big boost to research in universities. The university and industry collaborations will also get a big boost under NRF, he explained.

The UGC chairman spoke about “one nation, one data” portal for educational institutions. The higher educational institutions can share their data to the portal which can be accessed by the competent authorities while assessing academic standards, announcing rankings and so on.

He said the institutions are being encouraged to go for accreditation and one of the reforms that the UGC has proposed is scrapping the grading of the educational institutions like “A plus or A plus plus” and introducing a classification that states either the institutions were accredited or not accredited, ready for accreditation. The method employed in accreditation and assessment may soon be altered, he added.

JSS AHER Vice-chancellor Dr. Surinder Singh was present.

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