All About Draft National Education Policy And EQUIP

By Moderator July 1, 2019 13:09

Philip G. Altbach and Eldho Mathew suggest that resources spent in drafting educational policies should instead be spent in implementing solutions. Read this article to know about EQUIP.

Important Analysis

  • In its first 100 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second government has begun yet another rethink of higher education policy through the draft NEP (National Education Policy) and EQUIP (Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme).
  • The author criticized the government citing the Radhakrishnan Commission of 1949, the National Education Policies of 1968 and 1986, the Yashpal Committee of 2009, the National Knowledge Commission in 2007, and the draft NEP of 2019 have all basically said the same thing.
    • The author says that Everyone agrees that higher education needs significant improvement, especially as India seeks to join the ranks of the world’s premier economies.

Issues with Higher Education in India

  1. Low Budget:
  2. Higher education in India has been chronically underfunded — it spends less than most other BRICS countries on higher education.
  • It spends less than most other BRICS countries on higher education.
  • The last Budget allocated only ₹37,461 crore for the higher education sector.
  1. Less support from other ministries to fund higher education:
  • Other related ministries and departments such as Space, Scientific and Industrial Research, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology, Health Research and Agricultural Research have been allocated only modest support. Inadequate funding is evident at all levels.
  1. All State governments, which provide the bulk of higher education money, also fail to adequately support students and institutions.
  2. The Central government, responsible mostly for the top of the academic system, does not provide sufficient resources.
  • Even the Institutions of Eminence scheme falls short of requirements and is dramatically behind similar programs in China and several European countries.
  • Funding for basic research, which is largely a Central government responsibility, lags behind peer countries.
  1. Less support from Private sector:
  • India has the largest number of students in private higher education in the world. But much of private higher education is of poor quality and commercially oriented.
  • Apart from Tata Trusts, Infosys Foundation, and Pratiksha Trust, the industry provides little support.


  1. Low enrolment rate:
  • A key goal of EQUIP and the NEP is that India must expand the percentage of young people enrolled in post-secondary education significantly.
    • The draft NEP aims at increasing the gross enrolment ratio to at least 50% by 2035, EQUIP targets doubling the gross enrolment ratio to 52% by 2024.
  • At present, India’s gross enrolment ratio is 25.8%, significantly behind China’s 51% or much of Europe and North America, where 80% or more young people enroll in higher education.
    • India’s challenge is even greater because half of the population is under 25 years of age. The challenge is not only to enroll students but to ensure that they can graduate. Non-completion is a serious problem in the sector.
  1. A reasonable standard of quality:
  • It is universally recognized that much of Indian higher education is of relatively poor quality.
    • Employers often complain that they cannot hire graduates without additional training.
    • Many engineering colleges even today have to offer “finishing programs” to their graduates underlines the pathetic state of quality imparted by these institutions.
  1. Governance of the higher education system:
  • The structure and governance of the higher education system need major reform.
  • There is too much bureaucracy at all levels, and in some places, political and other pressures are immense.
  • Professors have little authority and the hand of government and management is too heavy. At the same time, accountability for performance is generally lacking.


  1. Dramatically increased funding from diverse sources, and the NEP’s recommendation for a new National Research Foundation is a welcome step in this direction;
  2. Significantly increased access to post-secondary education, but with careful attention to both quality and affordability, and with better rates of degree completion;
  3. Longitudinal studies on student outcomes;
  4. To develop “world class” research-intensive universities, so that it can compete for the best brains, produce top research, and be fully engaged in the global knowledge economy;
  5. To ensure that the private higher education sector works for the public good;
  6. To develop a differentiated and integrated higher education system, with institutions serving manifold societal and academic needs;
  7. Reforms in the governance of college and universities to permit autonomy and innovation at the institutional level; and
  8. Better coordination between the University Grants Commission and ministries and departments involved in higher education, skill development, and research.

What is needed is not more research, but rather long-neglected action.

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By Moderator July 1, 2019 13:09