by Suneetha Qureshi
VP, MSM – Global
The era of “Jacks and Janes of all trades” in India has come following the approval of the New Education Policy (NEP), which removes rigid streams that restricted students from getting holistic education for 34 years. A policy that has been a long time coming, it likewise benefits the international education sector because the NEP gives prospective students the freedom to pursue multidisciplinary education abroad. The NEP also influences the bigger picture of the post-COVID-19 world moving forward by preparing a job market that has a flexible skill set needed in advanced economies.
Larger Market of Prospective Students
NEP, at the very onset, prepares the students for interdisciplinary education. Primary and secondary students will be allowed to choose different subjects in class 11 and 12, instead of choosing one defined stream between Science, Commerce and Humanities from class 11. While this does not directly affect the international education sector for higher education institutions, the NEP shapes the mindset of the youngsters in embracing the liberties a flexible curriculum provides.
By the time they reach college, Indian students have the choice of moving in and out of their courses in three or four years but still have appropriate certification within this period. Thanks to a new credit transfer system, they can still rejoin programs after a break taken for sudden personal emergencies or professional purposes.
This, plus the NEP-mandated discontinuation of MPhil programs, will produce more college graduates that can be tapped for marketing international education. The bigger the market is, the bigger the chances for international student enrollment.
Internationalization of Higher Education
The new policy is set to allow Top 100 foreign universities to set up in India. This is a positive move in opening up the Indian education ecosystem. Indian students will now be able to experience the global quality of education without spending for travel and migration. The presence of the campuses of international universities will also increase competition and will revamp the higher education system and the curriculum to be at par with global standards.
The NEP also encourages Indian universities to build strong partnerships with international universities, something that international education marketing companies such as MSM and our campus management unit MSM Higher Ed have long been engaged in ahead of the policy’s approval. Twinning, international research partnerships and exchange programs between Indian and international institutions is healthy for the industry and can help speed up proposals for pathway agreements because the Indian government itself supports these business models. In the grand scheme of things, the exchange of ideas between Indian and international institutions will lead to innovative curricula.
A Pandemic-Proof Workforce
But reforms won’t happen overnight. The incumbent government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire NEP. A major drawback is insufficient funding to fully execute the policy. Despite this, I believe we are on the right track.
By not limiting a learner’s interest of study to liberal arts and sciences, India’s sectors can meet the demands of the modern workplace that strives to hire multi-faceted employees. The go-getters who choose to build businesses of their own will also be great targets for interdisciplinary programs that may range from business administration and accounting to multimedia arts for marketing and advertising.
The approval of the NEP comes at a time when people are learning that to survive a pandemic economically one needs to innovate, upskill and continue learning. Hats off to the Union Cabinet for having the foresight in not only helping the international education community but also its citizens to be resilient amid these challenging times.