08 May 2022 07:52:46 IST

NEP to give students great flexibility

Ravi Pachamuthu, Chairman, SRM Group of Institutions

The National Education Policy (NEP) is going to be a lot more student-centric and educational institutions may find it difficult to cope with this. As a policy, it is very good; however, during implementation, there will be a lot of challenges, says Ravi Pachamuthu, Chairman, SRM Group of Institutions.

“I believe our education system should change, and this has been due for several years. The NEP will lead to a better education system,” he said.

The way the NEP is presented by the government and in the media, the education standards will be on par globally. This does not mean the present education system is not on par, he says. So far, it has been subject-oriented and based on marks, but under the NEP, a student cannot just have the subject knowledge, but they should be able to put it to use effectively.

For example, just designing a spectacle frame is not enough and the student should also know how to manufacture it; present it to the market, and make a viable business out of it. “The NEP will also enable students to become entrepreneurs,” he adds.

Tough to retain students

Pachamuthu says under the NEP, it is going to be difficult for the management to retain students. If a student does not like an institution, he/she can shift to any other after one year.

“It will be like number portability in the telecom sector wherein if a person doesn't like the service of a provider, they have the option to switch over to another. The NEP will be based on the credit system, and will be maintained by the government. The entire education system will be based on merit,” he said.

The new system will put a lot of pressure on the faculty as they need to ensure that students stay with the college for four years. If 100 students are joining a class, and 10 leave during a year it will not be a problem. However, if 70 leave, what will happen, he asks. The whole system will collapse and the faculty will be held responsible for the student attrition.

For institutions, it will be like the IT industry as employees keep hopping to another firm. “We need to satisfy students in all manner. Students will dictate terms to the faculty. It may be good or bad,” he adds.

A boutique system

In the present system, if a student is on board, he will not leave the college for the next four or five years. The college can plan the P&L accordingly. However, under the NEP, there is no guarantee that a student will stay with the college for four years. There are going to be a lot of uncertainties.

“Colleges will be like another boutique. We don’t know when the customer will come and whether he is happy with the product or not,” he says.

“Today, education is service-oriented, and will become business-oriented. In the past, we can plan for the next five years. However, under the new system, we need to plan just for the present,” explains Pachamuthu.

“We are also ready to change our system based on NEP. We won’t find it difficult to change. The only problem will be to retain students. If they leave, how do you attract students from other colleges. We will be like the software companies and poach from others,” he quips. “There is a possibility that a student may shift to four colleges in four years. It can be a learning experience,” he adds.

“We are prepared for the change. The brick and mortar model will reduce and virtual education will increase like in the Covid times. Like the set-top box, education content will also be provided in a box and the student can view it as and when required.”

“Corona has taught us how to cope during tough times. We have already set up a good e-learning platform. We are prepared for both physical and virtual learning environments,” he explains.