Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Crisis in education in rural India and NEP


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2-National Education Policy

The article analyses the missing focus on the rural youth in the National Education Policy 2020 and its implications.

Education in rural India and NEP

  • Poor quality education marks and mars the lives of rural citizens.
  • The NEP fails to address the growing school differentiation in which government schools are now primarily attended by children of disadvantaged castes and Adivasi groups.
  • The mushrooming of private schools caters to the aspirations of the more advantaged castes and classes.
  • The NEP overlooks the complexity of contemporary rural India, which is marked by a sharp deceleration of its economy, extant forms of distress, and widespread poverty.
  • Rural candidates are finding it increasingly difficult to gain entry into professional education.
  • The lack of fit between their degrees and the job market means that several lakhs of them find themselves both “unemployable” and unemployed.

What the NEP misses

  • NEP overlooks the general adverse integration of the rural into the larger macroeconomy and into poor quality mass higher education.
  • The report calls for the “establishment of large, multi-discipline universities and colleges” and places emphasis on online and distance learning (ODL).
  • However, correspondence courses and distance education degrees have become a source of revenue generation for universities.
  • The possibility of forging and promoting environmental studies for local ecological restoration and conservation are missing.
  • Emphasis on local health and healing traditions from the vast repertoire of medical knowledge is missing.
  • Vernacular architectural traditions and craftsmanship to use local resources find no mention at all in the NEP.

Neoliberal ideas in NEP

  • The NEP moots the possibility of establishing “Special Education Zones” in disadvantaged areas and in “aspirational districts”.
  • But the report provides no details as to how such SEZs will function and who will be the beneficiaries of such institutions.


The NEP fails to cater to the needs of rural India’s marginalised majority, who in so many ways are rendered into being subjects rather than citizens.

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