Vice Chancellors' meet on NEP 2020 held at Gauhati University

A high-level meeting involving the Vice Chancellors of the State universities of Assam was held
Vice Chancellors' meet on NEP 2020 held at Gauhati University

GUWAHATI: A high-level meeting involving the Vice Chancellors of the State universities of Assam was held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Prof Pratap Jyoti Handique, Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University GU, in the newly-constructed 'Coordination Centre for the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020' at Gauhati University.

Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta, Education Adviser to the Government of Assam, graced the occasion along with the vice chancellors of Dibrugarh University (DU), Cotton University (CU), Bodoland University, Bhattadev University, Madhabdev University, Sri Sri Aniruddhadeva Sports University, KK Handique State Open University, Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit & Ancient Studies University, Rabindranath Tagore University, Birangana Sati Sadhini Rajyik Viswavidyalaya and Assam Rajiv Gandhi University of Co-operative Management, the principals of the autonomous colleges of Assam, and representatives from Assam Agricultural University, Assam Science and Technology University, and Assam Women's University.

Prof Handique welcomed all the distinguished delegates of the meeting and outlined the directives issued by the Rajya Shiksha Aayog regarding NEP 2020 and emphasized on the necessity of discussing the matter amongst the vice-chancellors of the State universities of Assam. He expressed concern over the fact that there has been a lot of discussion on the guidelines and schemes regarding the implementation of the policy at the Central and State level, but no common framework to address the challenges has been developed so far, informed a press release.

In his inaugural address, Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta stressed upon the necessity to have a result-oriented discussion on matters such as uniform academic calendar, uniform credit grading system, and uniform course structure/syllabus related to the implementation of NEP 2020. Intra and inter-institutional sensitization programmes need to be organized to create awareness regarding the flexible and accommodating nature of the NEP 2020. The autonomous colleges, in this regard, have to take the initiative in highlighting local-level knowledge systems through skill-based vocational programmes rather than following an overarching model. Blended learning, common entrance exam for FYUP, offering multidisciplinary subjects, capacity-building programmes, digital teaching-learning system are some of the result-oriented aspects envisioned by Prof Mahanta as crucial components for implementation under the NEP 2020. As the Education Adviser to the State Government, Prof Mahanta also suggested encouraging internship and engagements with rural areas through Anganwadis, Panchayati Raj institutions, primary schools, etc.

Prof Handique first proposed the adoption of NEP 2020 from the session 2023-24, which was passed unanimously. The members present in the meeting then discussed and adopted unanimous resolutions on certain key aspects of the policy, namely, minimum common course framework (MCoF), academic bank of credit (ABC), parallel entries and exits, minimum common academic calendar, digital courses and resource repository, inclusion of papers offered through MOOCs, self-financing courses, common entrance test for UG/PG, developing a common skeleton structure in the framing of syllabus, and also developing physical infrastructure and human resource within an integrated framework.

It was decided that the total credit allocation will be 176 credits for a 4-year UG course (22 per semester/8 semesters). However, for sports and other specialized universities, including ODL universities, the total credit allocation may be between 160 and 176. It was also agreed upon that the admission will be based on allotment of major-leading subject in the very first semester with an option to change the major subject in the 3rd semester.

Furthermore, universities and autonomous colleges will be given the autonomy to devise and plan new curriculum by March, 2023. The members present expressed the necessity of supplementing digital facilities with adequate physical infrastructure and also emphasized on the creation of a unified digital repository that would be more feasible than developing individual resource repository by the respective institutions.

As part of the meeting, a State-level inter-university committee was constituted to explore the modalities for conducting the Common Entrance Test (CET) for the postgraduate courses with members from Bodoland University, Cotton University, Dibrugarh University, Gauhati University (convenor), and Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit & Ancient Studies University. Regarding syllabus framing, it was decided that the procedure to be followed will take into account the feedback from all academic stakeholders after due drafting at the institutional level, following which it will be adopted for implementation. All the members present in the meeting felt that the Government should invest in capacity building (physical infrastructure and human resource), and, towards that end, conduct an exercise to identify institution-wise requirements and make suitable budget provisions in the state budget.

The matter regarding dual degree and dual major was also discussed, and it was decided that the concerned universities will formulate suitable mechanism for designing and offering joint degrees. The meeting ended with Prof Handique thanking all the VCs and associated officials present in the meeting for their inputs and suggestions towards the implementation of NEP 2020 in the higher Education Institutions of Assam.

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