Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

The NEP debate: Why criticism of the policy is premature and off the mark?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: Reason behind the criticism of NEP

Why in the News?

Opposition mainly comes from traditionalists who dislike markets, industrial experience, and internships. The NEP supports Ambedkar’s vision of education focused on employability for most Indians.

About the National Education Policy (NEP)

  • The NEP was implemented in 2020, replacing the outdated NEP of 1986 after a delay of 34 years.
  • It aims to address the low employability of graduates by aligning education with the rapidly changing technological and industrial landscape.
  • It emphasizes a well-rounded education that includes in-depth knowledge, soft skills, technical skills, research capabilities, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking.
  • The NEP shifts all programs towards outcome-based learning, with specified learning outcomes and corresponding assessments for each course.

Why Criticism of the Policy is Premature and Off the Mark?

  • Early Stage of Implementation: Critics argue that it dilutes core content and burdens students and educators with bureaucratic requirements, but these criticisms are considered premature.
  • Continuous Task: Overhauling the vast education sector is a continuous task, and many concerns are over-emphasized.
  • University-Specific Issues: Much criticism centers around syllabus design and content, which is a university-specific issue and not a failure of the NEP.

Provisions under NEP and Government Efforts

  • Credit-Based Courses: The NEP introduces credit-based courses, allowing for a flexible and multidisciplinary academic path.
  • Ability and Skill Enhancement Courses: These courses are designed to equip students with employability or entrepreneurial skills.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): Students gaining industrial exposure related to their studies can earn credits through RPL, facilitating lifelong learning.
  • Revamped Curriculum and Syllabi: Emphasis on hands-on learning and continuous assessment through credited tutorials.
  • Internships and Practical Experiences: Integration of internships, apprenticeships, projects, and community outreach within degree programs.
  • Flexible Exit and Re-Entry: The NEP allows students to exit and re-enter programs, accommodating varied backgrounds and circumstances.

Way Forward

  • Responsive Academia: Academia should be responsive to the requirements of the masses and markets, ensuring education is aligned with employability and industrial needs.
  • Continuous Feedback and Updates: Institutions should continuously update their programs based on feedback from stakeholders, following the example of successful adopters like Delhi University.
  • Long-Term Infrastructure Development: Realizing the full potential of the NEP requires long-term infrastructure development, which should be a sustained effort.

Mains PYQ: 

Q National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (UPSC IAS/2020) 

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