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Cabinet renames HRD ministry, approves new education policy

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP). The Cabinet also renamed the HRD ministry as Education ministry, officials said.

A panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ when he took charge last year. The report was submitted on May 31, 2019.

The draft was then put in the public domain seeking feedback from various stakeholders. Over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD Ministry on the same.

“The policy draft has been approved. The ministry has been renamed as Education Ministry,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.

The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. A new education policy was part of the BJP’s manifesto ahead of 2014 general elections.

The drafting experts also took into account the report of a panel headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian. The panel was formed by the HRD ministry when it was being headed by Union minister Smriti Irani.  The panel submitted its report on May 27, 2016.

Multiple entry and exit for students

As per the new NEP, students will get the facility of multiple entry and exit in higher education. So, a student will be able to take a sabbatical, if required, and then resume their studies within a fixed period of time. The government has also decided to discontinue M Phil being offered by universities.

Multi-disciplinary education

The government said it will introduce multi-disciplinary education under which there will be major and minor programmes.

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The students can choose subjects of their own choice and interest under the major and minor programmes. Exemplifying, the government said that an engineering student having an interest in music can pursue both engineering and music with the help of major and minor programmes.

Graded autonomy for colleges

The government said colleges affiliated to universities will be provided graded autonomy in academic, administrative, and financial decision making. Graded autonomy will depend on the ratings of the college by NAAC. Better ratings will ensure more autonomy, the government said.

Single regulator for higher education

The government is also going to replace multiple regulators with a single regulator for higher education. The single regulator will have different verticals for various aspects related to higher education such as approvals, accreditations, financing, etc.

As of now, there is UGC, AICTE and National Council for Teacher Education. All of them will be replaced with a single regulator. The regulation of colleges and universities will be based on online self-disclosure based transparent system.

 

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