Progress is a universal desire and education is a way to achieve it. Educated societies are destined to do much better than those not educated. It is in this vein that education has remained a priority for modern advanced societies and it is exactly why governments strive hard to bring about best education policies.
Post-independence, India came up with several commissions and committees that recommended changes needed in higher education for promoting all round development including research and innovative skills among students and faculty. In this direction, a New Education Policy, called NEP-2020 has been implemented recently under the chairmanship of Kasturirangan. This policy was implemented two years after the actually-proposed year in Jammu and Kashmir owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy aims at the transformation of education sector to improve the standard of education. Education is vital not only as a means to some other end but it is a quality that is valued in itself by most individuals and it plays a vital role in the development of a nation.
The New Education Policy focuses on making higher education job oriented, developing research and creative skills among the students, providing multiple opportunities to students, developing scientific temper among students, vocationalizing education and, more importantly, making education system at par with global standards. No doubt, by the implementation of the New Education Policy, education system, especially higher education in Jammu and Kashmir, will be revitalized and the changes which are needed in the higher education institutions (HEIs) will be brought about. But for the implementation of any policy, various things should be kept in mind, such as the interests of students, the availability of resources and the much-needed conducive environment.
The New Education Policy provides students ample choice to select the subjects in colleges and universities. But in Jammu and Kashmir, all the subjects are not available in most of the HEIs. I, being a student of Government Degree College Sopore, observed that most of the students, currently studying in the first semester, who got admission under the New Education Policy are in confusion about major, minor and multidisciplinary subjects which have been given to them by the college or which were chosen by them. Some students have not got admission in the subjects of their interest. Infrastructural facilities are lacking in most of the HEIs of Jammu and Kashmir. Some research facilities are also lacking in colleges and universities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Recently, a survey on the New Education Policy was conducted at Government Degree College Sopore thanks to the untiring efforts of the Department of Statistics. This survey brought a number of things to the fore which include several interesting facts about the attitude of students towards this New Education Policy. Some major findings of the survey are mentioned ahead.
About 83% of students are in favour of the New Education Policy and 17% of them are not in favour of it. Also, 70% of students agree or strongly agree that they have got admission in the subject of their choice under the New Education Policy, whereas 21% of them disagree or strongly disagree to have been given admission in the subject of their choice under this policy. Moreover, 67% of students agree or strongly agree that the New Education Policy will make education job oriented. 66% of students agree or strongly agree that the New Education Policy may not be fruitful in Jammu and Kashmir due to lack of resources in HEIs (that is colleges and universities). 74% of students agree or strongly agree that the New Education Policy will make education student centric. 71% of students agree or strongly agree that the New Education Policy will enable students to learn at their own pace.
For making higher education fruitful, value based, successful and job oriented in Jammu and Kashmir under the New Education Policy, all the colleges should be well equipped with infrastructural facilities, research facilities and all the subjects should be introduced in the colleges.
What I have observed, as a student, is that before its implementation in Jammu and Kashmir, awareness should have been created among students about NEP-2020, its benefits and suitability vis-à-vis students’ needs in Jammu and Kashmir. It is unfortunate but a fact that most of the students, and even teachers for that say, are in chaos about the New Education Policy.
(Author is a Student (Economics Honors) at Government Degree College Sopore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)