Stating that the 16-point agenda plan agreed upon in the chief secretaries’ conference in Shimla in June wherein the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also there will be one of the focus areas of the three-day, Murthy said: “… agenda plan of action was presented in the chief secretaries’ conference in wherein the Prime Minister was also there. We got the consensus of all the state governments towards implementing the 16-point agenda plan of action. Now, this 16-point agenda plan of action is one of the themes or the foundations of the actions that we are proposing to discuss in the next three days, and of all those action plans that are going to get the participants of this conference to benefit with the best practices that are happening throughout the country.”
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On the efforts put in by the government in the last eight months, Murthy said that since November 2021 there has been an intense exercise of consulting with over 300 state universities and another 300 central universities and private universities were consulted on the various aspects of implementation of the national education policy. “Now, out of that intense discussion, an agenda of plan of action was developed. And that agenda plan of action was presented in the chief secretaries’ conference.”
The secretary said that the summit provides an opportunity to the institutions to interact with the other platforms that have been developed at the central level to see how they can adopt them, implement them at the least cost. “Ultimately, all this consultation is happening for the benefit of the student who is going to be the taker of this type of initiative that is happening. So we feel that this intense discussion that will emerge from these three days will motivate, as well as allow the universities towards a better plan of action for implementation of the national education policy for the benefit of the student,” said Murthy.
Explaining the way forward Murthy said that any critical action or implementation of the National Education Policy focuses on three pillars. “You need a curriculum with meets the industry’s requirement. I think everyone here is meeting that in their efforts to revise their curriculum and pedagogy to see that what they teach and deliver to students meet societal requirements. So the focus is on employability and entrepreneurship. Second is you need a capable and competent faculty to deliver that content. And I think the content is developed for the benefit of the teachers. AICTE has a proper scheme for induction for every faculty member who joins this stream of engineering. What an eight week course to deliver and how it is to be delivered is taught in this eight-module sessions. And the third point is how do you leverage technology to see that you are able to deliver it at the least cost. We will hear many examples in these sessions. There are two sessions exclusively to give you the best practices available,” summed up Murthy.
He also shared the example of the platform that IIT Madras created to reach an unlimited number of people for delivering a BSc data science course. “That data science course has 15,000 people registered on one platform. So there is no limitation of seat numbers but you are able to deliver a quality course. Now that is the way forward to see how our higher education institutions have such a type of ability to deliver to the remotest part of the country. Second part is how do you deliver innovation, how do you embed innovation in every education institution? The ministry has a great platform; it has created an innovation cell. It is headed by an individual who is from the private sector. They have created around 3,000 innovation centres across the country. The number might seem small, but the enrollment is high. The culture of entrepreneurship and ensuring that you do innovations to address how problems of the country are addressed through these Smart India Hackathons I think is a small step but has an impact of far reaching consequences. These three broad steps are going to be the path breakers for the implementation of the National Education Policy.”
Stating that the implementation of the policy is a continuous process Murthy spoke about AICTE’s initiative to bring in literature, reading material for professional colleges in Indian languages. “They have in the last year produced for the first year course, entire material in technical languages. Now, this is available to the students right across the country. Any student who wants to learn technical language in his mother tongue has that opportunity that this is not stopping there. The messages out there to the people as well as the students that they will not be stopped by the first year of syllabus but will have the syllabus books in their regional languages across the years of studies. So now they’re currently preparing the curriculum or the textbooks in the second year also, and so on and so forth. We go around building that.”