What exactly is the problem with Indian education? Everything. With the exception of a few areas of quality, that is. Is there any reason to be optimistic about the future? Yes, if the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is followed to the letter, with full engagement from all stakeholders. The policy's implementation began in the first half of last year, and the first signs of activity are starting to emerge. One of the first measures is the implementation of the ambitious NIPUN Bharat initiative, which seeks to achieve fundamental reading and numeracy for all children by 2026-27.

While the NEP will be completely implemented from 2021 to 2022, a strong focus on capacity and employability, transdisciplinary and experiential learning approaches, high-quality vocational education, and industry-institution engagement can help.

The most important issue is and has always been a severe capacity shortage. The NEP sets a lofty goal of increasing the country's gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 27.1% in 2019-20 to 50% by 2035, and to 100% in school education by 2030. This type of expansion necessitates additional capacity, and it must be of excellent quality. The job of increasing capability begins with education budget allocation. The NEP has vowed to increase spending by increasing public investment in education to 6% of GDP, up from 2.67 percent currently.

On the other hand, most Indian states have abysmally low pass rates for Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs). Only 19.51 percent of TET candidates in Karnataka passed the exam in 2021, a substantial improvement from 3.93 percent the previous year. Between 2013 and 2018, only approximately 1-7 percent of candidates in Maharashtra were eligible for recruitment. Such bleak data hint to a scarcity of qualified teachers in the system, which leads to low-quality educational output in general. And this has a knock-on effect on the quality of graduates produced in India. Only approximately 46.2 percent of the youth are regarded highly employable resources, according to the India Skills Report (ISR) 2022.

According to the data, almost 75% of all organisations polled identify a talent deficit in the industry, with 100% of retail employees agreeing that a skill gap will be filled in the next year.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

By 2030, the NEP intends to establish one large multifunctional college in each district. The policy intends to make all higher education institutions in the country interdisciplinary by 2020, with at least 300 students enrolled. These initiatives, according to experts, can go a long way toward resolving the capacity and employability issues that have plagued Indian education.

An engineering student, for example, could choose a humanities course. As a result, it allows students to develop multiple viewpoints from many fields in order to better grasp a theme or issue.

It's All About the Experience

As we migrate from a traditional marks-based assessment paradigm to one that encourages maximal innovation and creativity, experts argue that experiential learning and conceptual knowledge must become the cornerstone of our educational system. In addition, the emotional element must be factored into the learning process. Experiential learning, according to Parag Diwan, Chairman of Paradigm Consultants & Resource Management, a management consulting firm, needs the student to act in the actual world rather than relying just on lectures. By focusing on inquiry, application, and authentic learning opportunities, this form of learning pushes students outside the typical classroom boundaries.