Higher education today implies a journey from knowledge building to competency building. That is, the students should develop their individual capacities to practically apply their newly learnt knowledge and grow holistically for complete self-expression. In the meantime, we should also be aware that the purpose of the University is being relegated to only material use to society. This has been that case because formal education today is being largely controlled by the industrial capitalist economy. So, we as teachers should know that we need to balance our pedagogy between both 'character building' and also 'capacity building' for suitable employment.
One should understand the evolution of university education. In the earlier days, it was meant only for the elite. But with the passage of time, it has shifted its concern to the masses. Hence, the current demand is that the universities should compulsorily address the concerns of contemporary society by working in collaborative ways across defined boundaries. Thus, teaching becomes valid if life experiences are interspersed with the pedagogy.
The university, as an institution, is as an institution of higher learning. In the ancient days of university education, the notion 'higher' basically referred to the actual content of one's university education and the goal of scientific research. Therefore, teaching should invariably move beyond traditional and theory-based foundations. It should always be research-based and should have data-driven-evidence. In other words, it may be understood that what one learns in the university had to do with the 'higher' capacities of the humankind. That is why university education was seen as higher education.
But today, the students' learning is largely being determined by the role of assessment. The universities have undergone tremendous metamorphosis and become institutions for certification. This probably could be the reason as to why the National Education Policy has laid emphasis on faculty being empowered to make curricular choices for their courses and to pursue research with academic freedom. There is also thrust on faculty members in universities and colleges having opportunities to develop their own understanding of the development of education, curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation of their disciplines. Hence, it has to be understood that there should be an encouragement for investigator-led research by linking national labs to universities and create new knowledge eco-systems to improve science and R&D in the country.
The competent economy is demanding competent students who have ready knowledge and skills which suites the liberal market job market. But our higher education system is not in the place to match the diverse learning needs for syncing the curricula, teaching strategies and job specifications. Our curriculum is not much relevant to the practice, Changes in faculty characteristics are not motivating the multi-disciplinary approach and these make the absence of market competitiveness among the university graduates. There is much need to improve the poor learning outcomes in some specializations. The increasing diversity of students - with varying age, aspirations, cultural, and academic backgrounds is resulting in the unemployment of higher education graduates for poor skills and abilities.
During this academic crisis, the Draft National Education Policy 2019 is like a boon to advance the required academic teaching, learning and research strategies to mark our place in the global ranking. Through the policy, our educators will be empowered to make curricular choices for their courses and to pursue research with academic freedom which results in reaching the expected job market.
Faculty members will have the opportunities to develop the practical understanding of education, curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation of their inputs. The Draft NEP 2019 will induct and expose the educators to contemporary pedagogic practices and the use of resources in teaching. Hope the policy will decorate us to develop our practices of teaching, research and extension with the global presence of our students and achieve global status in research and innovation.
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