Policy analysis calls for careful separation of language from the legislative goal. And this is precisely wherein the devil lies in the draft National Education Policy, 2019. Cloaked in a rhetorical smattering of high-sounding claims, the draft NEP reproduces all of the structural reforms in higher schooling that erstwhile governments have tried to bring in and faced substantial quantities of criticism for.
First, the draft spends a vast proportion of its higher schooling imaginative and prescient on championing the need for education in the liberal arts and social sciences. To that impact, it gives a native twist to the authentic that means of the Latin ‘artes liberals’ (training for the exercising of freedom) as originating on Indian soil in the 64 ‘Kalas. Notwithstanding the ancient inaccuracy of any such declares, the draft NEP is going directly to prescribe a set of humanities and social technology publications to students enrolled in all clinical, technological, and expert disciplines.
But why is this type of liberal arts training necessary? While we — instructors and students of these disciplines — have to welcome this sudden ruin of a brand new sunrise, the World Economic Forum destroys the spell all too quickly. The draft tells us, taking its cue from the WEF, that the liberal arts disciplines alone can manufacture workers for the ‘fourth commercial revolution.’ They can equip college students with a degree of cognitive literacy across topics, and our beloved slogan of ‘important thinking’ needs to come to mean “guides on facts, information analysis, or quantitative strategies.” The sheer joy of multidisciplinarity will put together its beneficiaries “now not only for their first jobs — however also for his or her 2d, third, and all future jobs over their lifetimes”. Broad-basing of training is therefore made to translate into the promise of a migrant contractual labor force. With growing unemployment, that is the satisfactory we will do — produce Jacks-of-all-trades, scrambling daily from one process to the following.
Second, the draft believes that an obligatory liberal arts schooling will help India double the wide variety of entrants in higher education — additionally called gross enrolment ratio — from the modern-day 25.8 to 50 consistent with cent, within the subsequent one-and-a-1/2 decades. But, contrary to established policy know-how, it suggests a path to this growth in a large-scale merger of schools and universities within the USA — bringing down the full wide variety of better academic institutions from around 50,000 at gift to a maximum of 12, three hundred over the subsequent two a long time. It then assumes a not possible uniformity of neighborhood social situations throughout institutional contexts and predicts a doubling of scholar consumption by quartering the range of establishments.
Third, the draft NEP makes a robust pitch for increasing public investment in education. For better training, the share of public spending is to be tripled over the following decade — aiming at a five in keeping with cent increase over the roughly 2—seventy-seven percent of current sales expenditure. The viable resources of this additional expenditure are imagined as placed in India’s booming economic system, a miraculously increasing tax-to-gross domestic product ratio, and a dedicated cess-collection. The reality can’t be farther from this, with India’s current GDP developing at five-12 months low and its unemployment degrees touching a 4-decade slump. The draft evokes a ten consistent with cent boom in a tax-to-GDP ratio within the subsequent decade, even as its common boom has hovered around a measly five—7 percent in the beyond 10 years. About cess levies, the 2017-18 document of comptroller and auditor general damningly indicates that extra than Rs 94,000 crore rupees — accrued underneath the secondary and better education cess given that 2006-07 — lies unallocated and unused. Given these financial signs, the brand new liberal arts departments now pressured upon universities and faculties will either should cowl expenses thru scholar charge hikes or through further contractualizing their school.
Fourth, the idea of ‘graded autonomy’ brought by using the University Grants Commission via a hard and fast of guidelines in early 2018 — and insisting on a hierarchy of institutional ‘performance’ via ratings or scores — has been vetted by the draft. The tiering of HEIs into Type 1 (studies universities), Type 2 (teaching universities), and Type 3 (undergraduate colleges) will result in specific fortunes for unique institutional settings. Although the Type three institutions are the largest in a wide variety, the projected increase in their percentage of public investment is disproportionately decreasing than the two other ‘Types.’ Although the draft NEP time and again cautions in opposition to autonomy being interpreted as a reduction in-country investment, the structural reforms it initiates pass on to do simply that.