In the last week of July, the NEP announced by the government of India is a product of prolonged modification and consultations. The discussions and debates on this policy are supposed to be more intensive. In the coming weeks and months, the portion speaking about higher education internationalism in India is expected to become the center of all attention. It is also likely to gain much scholarly attention. India has already become a lucrative destination for foreign universities with more than 1.5 million schools, near about 720 universities, and more than 40,000 colleges. At present, the country has entered a massification stage of higher education with a total enrolment ration of 26.3%, which is gradually increasing.
Let’s focus on the scope of the internationalism of higher education
The idea of internationalization of higher education focuses on faculty members, students, and institutions’ mobility across several countries and programs. Before the coming of NEP, there were two kinds of mobility: the students and faculty members. The attempt to attract foreign universities was already seen in the earlier collaborations with several institutions outside India. The Global Initiative of Academic Network was implemented by the Human Resource Development in 2015 to allow the country’s higher education institutions to invite top-class researchers, scientists, and some of the best scholars.
The higher education institutes of India have completed more than 1500 courses along with world-class international faculty members. Later in the year 2018, the act of Promotion of Academic and Research collaboration was launched to encourage cooperation and joint research with the top 500 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking institutions.
What NEP aims at?
The NEP’s main motto is to attract the top 100 QS World Ranking colleges and universities to open their overseas campuses in India. NEP believes that abroad universities would achieve the foundation and program portability. However, there are two distinct views on this suggestion. People who favor the decision argue that it will reduce the migration of Indian students and offer those an option to study at foreign campuses within the country who cannot afford to go abroad. Another race, who speaks against the decision, argues that this decision will increase the educational cost and widen the existing gap of receiving quality yet affordable education.
Changes regarding language
Besides internationalism, the policy also raises a few concerns about languages. It emphasizes a mother tongue or any regional language to be recognized as the medium of instruction until grade 8 and beyond. However, it is not clear whether it will be made mandatory. If it is made compulsory, it will probably hinder parents’ independence who has been choosing between regional and English mediums until now.
What does The Policy Times think?
- It is more comfortable for the children to grasp a particular language at a tender age. So, restricting them to one language until grade 5 will hinder their linguistic development.
- NEP’s goal of transforming all existing universities and colleges to multidisciplinary institutions by 2030 also needs to be mapped. Both financial and human resources required for the same will be enormous, and this transformation’s capacity is subjected to question.
- Internationalizing skills and vocational education is not as easy as transforming academic education.
- Professional and stem courses are seen to have more excellent market value in India than humanities and social sciences. So, a chance is there of many foreign universities turning their back to disciplines related to these streams.