DMPQ- Discuss how New Education policy, 2020 can transform India’s Higher Education.

. Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) have shown a consistent growth in both the quality and the quantity of research in the past decade. India currently ranks third globally in terms of the total research output, accounting for 5.31% of the total of research publications. Of three aspects — education, knowledge generation (research and development) and innovation — Indian HEIs have performed very well, in relative terms, in the first two aspects, but lack on the innovation front.

India found its Morrill moment with the approval of New Education Policy (NEP) exactly a year ago, on July 29, 2020. NEP is expected to transform the landscape of higher education in India by making HEIs work on “solutions to the problems” rather than “solutions looking for a problem” in the following specific ways.

One, Indian academia has traditionally been focused on R&D without much emphasis on relevance and delivery. The establishment of the National Research Foundation (NRF) is expected to connect our academia with ministries and industry and fund research that is relevant to local needs. Under the framework of NRF, each government ministry, be it central or state, is expected to allocate separate funds for research.

NRF, therefore, is expected to pose well-defined problems to the researchers, so that they can find solutions in a goal-oriented and timebound manner. Indian institutions have the potential to do so, whether it is Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) or Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), as they have done in the last few years, or our HEIs during the pandemic. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi focused on problems related to virus detection, protection and treatment, launched the world’s most affordable RT-PCR and antigen-based testing kits and developed export-quality personal protective equipment (PPEs) through the startup ecosystem. Covid-19 technologies developed at IIT-Delhi have touched over 10 million people and helped the nation fight the pandemic.

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