TODAY -

Leap for higher education in India

Vijay GarG *



The concept of multiple entry and exit options, as proposed in the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), seeks to transform higher education into a more inclusive and student-centred system. The approach offers several advantages, including flexibility for students to learn at their own pace and acquire specific skills and qualifications without committing to a full degree programme.

It also promotes lifelong learning by allowing them to return to education at different stages of their careers. There have been concerns though about the implementation of the multiple entry and exit system (MEES).

A parliamentary panel recently expressed reservations about the efficacy of the system, questioning its practicality and impact. While such scepticism is an essential aspect of democratic discourse, it is crucial to delve deeper into the objectives that the system aims to achieve.

"The system is designed to tackle longstanding issues, such as rigid academic structures, high dropout rates and the absence of interdisciplinary learning opportunities. The concerns raised by the panel are indeed valid, but they can be mitigated through a well-thought-out implementation strategy involving all stakeholders, including educational institutions, students.

The system is a groundbreaking approach that allows students the flexibility to enter or exit academic programmes at various stages.

For example, a student enrolled in a four-year undergraduate programme can choose to exit after one year with a certificate or after two years with a diploma. If the student decides to continue, he or she can complete the full degree.

So, the system embodies the principles of flexibility, adaptability and student-centricity. "It is designed to align with global educational norms, such as those in the US, where students have the freedom to switch majors, take academic breaks, or even transfer credits between different educational institutions,"

This modular learning approach breaks down educational programmes into smaller, manageable units, each with its own set of outcomes and credits. These credits are like building blocks; students can accumulate them along the way and combine them to achieve different qualifications.

"Additionally, the model recognises prior learning experiences, such as work experience or informal knowledge acquisition. Suppose a psychology graduate aspires for transition into a data-related field. In that case, the student can seamlessly do so by earning a data analysis certificate."

The concept, therefore, not only promotes lifelong learning but also enhances employability by providing intermediate qualifications that align with specific industries or job roles. It allows students to enter the workforce sooner, which can be particularly advantageous for those seeking immediate job opportunities or career changes.

In today's volatile job market, where career paths are no longer linear, the ability to adapt one's educational qualifications is invaluable. MEES provides this flexibility, allowing students to align their academic journey with their career aspirations dynamically.

"Moreover, it encourages a culture of continuous learning. It allows individuals to re-enter formal education at different life stages, The system is not just an academic concept but has practical applicability in the Indian educational landscape.

"The key to its successful nationwide implementation lies in the establishment of a robust and transparent credit system. The responsibility for ensuring educational quality should lie with higher education institutions themselves,"

A culture of self-regulation and internal quality assurance in that case can maintain high educational standards without adding bureaucratic layers. Sinha feels the concept holds immense potential provided it is executed with careful planning.

"The feasibility of implementing it in the Indian education system depends on infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, quality assurance and the integration of educational technology,"

India's diverse education landscape necessitates adequate resources, both online and offline, to support various learning pathways.


* Vijay GarG wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 04 November 2023.



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