Open Avenues | Advertorial: National Education Policy 2020
The Need of the Hour
Although NEP brings a lot of autonomy, it also brings a lot of responsibility and competition
19 Oct, 2020
Of the 13000+ B-schools in the world, India hosts 3000 odd B-schools i.e. almost 25% of the B-schools in the world. on the contrary we do not find more than 3 to 4 Indian B-schools ranked amongst the top-100 B-schools of the world. This contradiction starts with the fact that majority of MBA aspirants across the world have a prior work experience of 5 years or more and join the MBA program to upgrade their management skillsets. In India, more than 80% of candidates aspiring for MBA are freshers. The average work experience for the remaining 20% is around 2 years. Prior work experience plays a vital role in understanding the complex management concepts and hence the value proposition of an MBA is higher worldwide vis-à-vis India.
Why does India have so many B-schools? B-schools in India represented employment certainty prior to 2008. This resulted in the increasing demand for management education which spurred the establishment of large number of university affiliated B-schools across the country. Today the employability of management graduates is at all-time low. If we exclude the top-100 B-schools in the country, then the on-campus placements at the remaining B-schools is less than 50% and placements at more than 2000 B-schools is less than 10%.
Most of the B-schools have been reduced to finishing schools where they polish communication, introduce jargons and grant a degree. The key reasons for such dismal state are lack of industry interface, outdated curriculum, very low understanding of the skillsets demanded by the industry, absence of hands-on learning, absence of critical thinking, absence of ability to appreciate multiple perspectives and most importantly ill-equipped teachers. Exorbitant fees have further compounded the situation and reduced the value proposition of an MBA in this country. Demand for restructuring the B-school landscape has come to the forefront in the last few years and the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 has forced this change.
The focus of NEP is about scale without compromising on quality. It aims at removing hurdles to access higher education, increase autonomy and design a learning outcome-based education system which focuses on development of cognitive skills and better employability. The biggest change brought by NEP is the definition of Higher Education Institutions (HEI). “HEI will mean a multi-disciplinary institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs with high quality teaching, research and community engagement (NEP 2020)”. HEIs have to necessarily be multi-disciplinary in nature and award undergraduate degrees. single stream HEI have to become multi-disciplinary. University-Affiliated Colleges will either evolve into an HEI or phase out.
NEP also provides autonomy in various aspects of academic delivery. Multi-disciplinary HEIs will establish a Choice Based Credit system where in students can study courses across different streams. The degree-structure has also been modified. HEIs can award certificate/degree based on the duration of the student engagement bringing in flexibility for students as well as the institution. This autonomy will HEIs adapt to the changing circumstances at a faster pace.
Most of the B-schools in the country are either stand-alone B-schools or university affiliated B-schools. Multi-disciplinary and choice-based credit system will help develop critical thinking and cognitive skills amongst the students. The increased autonomy will help design programs and curriculum suited to the nature of student engagement. Autonomy will facilitate incorporation of industry-engagement in the curriculum. NEP envisages government investment in faculty development via the Teacher Education Institutions and also aims at providing faculty complete freedom in designing the courses. All such initiatives will ensure that relevant skillsets are imparted, and student employability is increased.
Although NEP brings a lot of autonomy, it also brings a lot of responsibility and competition. B-schools have to evolve into a multi-disciplinary HEI or perish. students’ choice will not be restricted by geography, financial resources or constraints on school intake. students may prefer a six-month program by IIM-A rather than pursue a full-time MBA at a local B-school. NEP has increased choices amongst the students, and this will result in closure of large number of B-schools which do not have a strong value proposition in terms of employability. B-schools need to reinvent themselves to face the changing times heralded by NEP 2020.
(Prof. Aditya Mohan Jadhav, Professor of Finance, and In-charge Office of Corporate Engagement, T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal)