Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Clustering educational institutes and research centres

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Cluster universitites, NEP 2020

Mains level : NEP 2020

National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) envisions establishing large multidisciplinary universities to promote research directed to solve contemporary national problems, and provides the option of setting up clusters of higher education institutes.

Q. Discuss the salient features of Cluster Universities as propounded by the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP).

What are Education Clusters?

  • This new concept is dedicated to students who want to discover & learn new things regardless of the field/branch/discipline they’re in.
  • Currently, higher educational institutions (HEIs) follow the structure of single-stream education.
  • Generally, what happens is that a student who has taken a major is allowed to study relevant subjects. He/she can’t opt for subjects from other majors.
  • This may restrict students to widen their thinking & learning capability.
  • With the introduction of Cluster University, the single-stream approach of teaching-learning will be ruled out.
  • All the institutions including the ones that are offering professional degrees will be transformed into a rationalized architecture that is popularly being referred to as- multidisciplinary clusters.

What are the Key Benefits of Cluster Universities?

More Space for Student-Teacher Collaboration

  • With HEIs getting merged to form a large unit, there would be more space for better student-teacher collaboration.
  • Students that are genuinely interested in learning a particular course would come together helping faculties to achieve better student learning outcomes.

Inculcating Leadership Qualities in Students

  • Students would be more confident as they pursue their choice of subjects. They would get an open field to polish their skills and also develop new ones.
  • Thus, the process would ultimately lead to the inculcation of leadership qualities in students.

Accelerate Institutional Networking

  • Since the Cluster University concept of the new education policy speaks of merging multidisciplinary HEIs, institutional networking would obviously go uphill.

Fewer Resources & More Expertise

  • Many students would be able to learn under a single entity. It is bound to increase the outcomes with comparatively fewer resources.
  • Such universities would increase faculty strength, both in terms of numbers and diversity of disciplines, and facilitate the conduct of research on real-life problems.

Way forward

  • For moving away from single-discipline institutions to multi-disciplinary universities, clustering is a promising model to achieve a critical mass in a university to invigorate research.
  • Many industry associations have established research centres and more could be encouraged to do.
  • India needs to earnestly pursue this model.
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