Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Two Potential Game Changers in Indian Higher Ed

First, the government has put in place a framework for vocational education [Prashant Nanda has the story in today's Mint].

This is something I heard about nearly two years ago from someone who claimed this initiative would create a vocational education system with a potential to rival that in Germany. I'll wait for experts in this area to offer their views on how good this policy framework really is.

Here's the press release:

The Scheme envisages Seven certificate levels with each certificate level with approximately 1000 hours each certificate, with each 1000 hours being made of certain number of hours for vocational competency based skill modules and the rest for general learning simultaneously integrated and providing a Diploma for vocational education after the certificate level five or leading to a Degree for vocational education after level seven in the university system, subject to their statutory approval, is highlight of the scheme.

A student can choose to avail of competency based skill learning along with general education in this scheme without losing the possibility of changing course and moving at any certificate level into a formal system of education and vice versa. This would ultimately provide a full multi-entry exist system between vocational education, general education and the job market.

AICTE would seek to provide the requisite statutory approvals to any institutions wishing to conduct these programmes from the Academic Year 2012 throughout the country. The institutions can choose a maximum of 500 students per institute in any five sectors, 100 students per sector.

The success of this program depends crucially on how well it's implemented, so we have to wait for the details of the regulations (by AICTE?) under this broad policy framework.

The second initiative will create an ETS like entity to run entrance exams / aptitude exams. Here's an excerpt from this Mint story filed by Prashant Nanda:

The body will take over the preparation and administration of entrance exams, besides the delivery of national-level exams through a dedicated group of professionals, researchers and independent experts having knowledge of the assessment and testing field, without involving teachers.

It will begin by managing tests such as the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and the joint entrance exam of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT-JEE), both key graduation entrance tests for engineering and science fields. [...]

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said, “It will be an Indian ETS. It will do research for preparing question papers, administer and conduct exams.”