In order to facilitate implementation of NEP, Delhi University has constituted a small committee consisting of teachers and education administrators. Unfortunately, the committee is proceeding without paying attention to all the necessary aspects that must be taken into account during such an implementation. It must not be ignored that an institution as huge as Delhi University, has made several painful adjustments in the last decade till the implementation of the existing LOCF (modified CBCS) course structure. The university has very frequently been subjected to several half-cooked adventures in the names of Semesterization, FYUP followed by its withdrawal, CBCS and then modification of the same termed now as LOCF.
Fortunately for us, this time the changes are being sought based on a complete document with a well discussed and a nation-wide policy that has a plan and vision to affect reforms in this sector right from pre-nursery level to the higher education stage.
Apparently, some of the members in the committee are known to have openly expressed their reservations on the possible projections of this National Education Policy and therefore has been working with a preconceived confusions and misunderstandings. These misplaced academic activists are inexplicably convinced that this policy has an ‘undisclosed’ aim of reducing the workload and thereby enforcing abolition of teaching posts. With such a view, they are incapable of visualizing a situation wherein the policy can be implemented without affecting reduction in the teaching strength. I am completely taken aback at their twisted estimates as when a switch from 3 year to a 4 year course should have been ‘normally’ expected to result in increase of workload and requirement of teachers, it is being spread as a measure to reduce the teaching strength. In addition to this, a misleading fear is being allowed to make rounds that introduction of online teaching will force working non-permanent teachers to discontinue their jobs.
To just give everyone an overview of what do I mean to convey, let me work out some average estimate that can give us the confidence that such fears are completely unfounded are in all probably – politically driven.
It will hardly come as a surprise that on addition of one year study to a three-year program an increase of one third workload requirement is only logical to get estimated. However, the fact that the government has also asked the higher education sector to allow some component of online studies for the undergraduate students, it can also not be denied that such a step has a potential to reduce the workload. An intelligent implementor of the policy is thus left with the sole task to use this reduction to balance the requirement of increase in the workload due to an additional year of teaching.
To achieve this, I would suggest a 5-year strategy of implementing this policy. In the first phase during the initial three years the workload must be kept the same by not allowing online teaching. After that in the fourth year when the students will reach their fourth year of studies, some component of online teaching may be permitted in the first year to balance the additional workload requirement for fourth year students. In the fifth year, finally the desired 30 percent online component may be allowed so that it can almost compensate for the entire increased demand of workload due to the introduction of fourth year. This 5 year strategy will provide the education institutions the adequate time to develop some additional infrastructural requirements if any, visualized by them in this process. They will have enough time to plan to deal with any eventuality during this transformation. Meanwhile, all institutions can be assured in this strategy that their strength will remain the same during and after the implementation of this policy and thus they may proceed with their long pending demand of making permanent appointments. After all, the National Education Policy has also emphasized the requirement of having permanent teachers in the education institutions to make them keep their focus on their students as per the expectations of the society.I am illustrating a table displaying only one of the possible strategies, assuming that with the 4-year course in place, the total credit requirement will jump from 148 to 192. It has been shown that how during the entire 5-year period of implementation, the credit requirements through offline course can be maintained as 148 and the additional requirement of 44 credits can be passed on to the online teaching that will pave the way for the new-age demand of blended mode of teaching and studying recommended for new-age learners and teachers.
After all, when the OBC reservation policy required 3-year for implementation, EWS reservation required 2 year of implementation, nothing should stop us from planning a five year implementation plan for a policy as important as the National Education Policy. NEP can potentially undo the damage caused to the education sector by several short-term and poorly planned reforms over the last decade. Let it be planned in a manner that will ensure a stable workload throughout the implementation period and after it, as per the table shown above.