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Multi-disciplinary feature of new education policy to attract more foreign students: P K Mishra

The multi-disciplinary feature of the new education policy will "certainly" attract more foreign students to come to India, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister P K Mishra said on Sunday.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 02-08-2020 21:09 IST | Created: 02-08-2020 21:09 IST
Multi-disciplinary feature of new education policy to attract more foreign students: P K Mishra

The multi-disciplinary feature of the new education policy will "certainly" attract more foreign students to come to India, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister P K Mishra said on Sunday. He said that currently several foreign students are studying in India but now the Indian education sector will be opened much more.

"It will certainly attract foreign students...With the new education policy, there will be a lot of liberalised regime, regulatory systems also will be much more liberalised, there will be more freedom. So I am sure that many many more foreign students will be attracted to come to India," he said. Mishra was replying to a question whether the multi-disciplinary feature in the new education policy will help attract foreign students to come to India.

He was speaking at the foundation day programme of IIT-Jodhpur. He said that the new education policy, which has replaced the earlier policy introduced 34 years ago, envisages major reforms in the education system.

The emphasis is on holistic and multidisciplinary education with flexibility of subjects and provisions for multiple entry and exit, Mishra said, adding it focuses a great deal on technology use and integration. It gives a thrust to technological innovations for the purpose of improving teaching learning and evaluation process, he said further. The Principal Secretary said that technology-enabled learning can bring in not only transformational change in delivery of online education experience, but can also enhance and supplement regular classroom-based pedagogy. "It could offer more flexibility and learning support than the traditional formats. Technology offers teachers the opportunities to become more collaborative and extend learning beyond the classrooms," he said.

He added that the policy proposes to set up a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), which will maintain a regular flow of authentic data from sources including educational technologies, innovators and practitioners. Besides, he said the National Research Foundation will play an important role in advancing core artificial intelligence research, developing and deploying application based research and advancing international research efforts to address global challenges.

He said that the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a tectonic shift in the education system and major universities and higher education institutions have partially and fully shifted to online mode of teaching and learning and are reporting considerable success in their endeavours. "...The need of social distancing will continue to affect traditional teachings and learning processes. A new normal in education might emerge which will possibly have a lasting influence on pedagogy and assessment and evaluation modalities. While online education has many merits, it also has challenges," Mishra said.

He added that conducting remotely proctored examinations is perhaps the most important challenge and it also requires pedagogical innovations by the faculty, change in evaluation modalities such as replacing examination by project or take home challenges and provide some viable and cost effective alternatives. "Another challenge is that of conducting laboratory classes and hands-on exercises for remote students. There may be a need to design and deploy a tool box of online virtual and remote labs that can be used in different courses to bridge this gap. It can be an alternative to the bricks and mortar labs," he added.

He said another limitation is lack or absence of human to human touch, face to face interaction in education has a different value which builds up a culture of an institute and "blended learning using a mix of online and on campus resources could be an option". He further said that in a multilingual country like India, language barriers create complexities.

Cutting edge research in text translation and machine learning aims to create deep learning systems that can translate English lectures in students' native language, he said. He added that similar technologies in voice recognition and text summarisation can transcribe an entire lecture and reduced paragraphs of text into relevant bullet points.

Teachers, he said, will also require suitable training and development to become effective online educators. "One cannot assume that a good teacher in a traditional classroom will automatically be a good teacher in an online classroom. Capacity building of teachers will be crucial to success of use of technology in education. So these are some of the challenges and issues which we must address," Mishra said. He added that a possible risk is that some people can be permanently left behind as the process of digitalisation is accelerated at a rapid pace, inequalities would perhaps be aggravated and that needs to be addressed.

"In other words, there are risks when we deploy technology very fast. The risk of security, risk of privacy, also may be that there could be more of inequity because of the digital divide," he said..


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