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NEP 2020:Nalanda in making …..SNDT College of Arts and SCB college of commerce and science, Mumbai.



Mumbai is home to many historic educational institutions that have shaped big people's careers and personalities right from film stars to industrialists. It is indeed heartening to note that many institutions in the city have all the required expertise to turn into multi-disciplinary institutions of excellence on par with the expectations of NEP 2020 guidelines. All that is required is some strategic and visionary planning in terms of multi-disciplinary collaboration and curriculum rollout.

I am going to talk about one such institution- SNDT college of arts and SCB college of commerce and Science. I had the chance to interact with the enthusiastic faculty from the college who were all ears for the changes proposed in the new education policy and were positive about their institution adapting to the demands of the changing education landscape in the country. As I researched on this it was indeed very surprising to note that this age-old institution was well set to become the Nalanda of modern times.

The college has all the constitutions required for turning into a modern-day Nalanda or Takshashila contributing immensely to the development of 21st-century skill sets in women as they aspire, learn and drive the economy in the future. Let me briefly peek into its illustrious background. From a humble beginning way back in 1931 with four students, the institution has blossomed from a Kanyashala at Girgaon to a regular, full-time college. What makes this college a toss for the ambitious plans of NEP 2020 is hidden in the diverse courses offered by the college cutting across arts, science, and commerce (vocational and certificate programs included). The college offers B. A degree in 5 languages, 6 Social Science subjects, Bachelors in Visual Art, Music and a graduate degree in Commerce. Vocational Courses in Travel and Tourism and Computer Applications are also offered. The college also conducts certificate courses in Light Music and a Para-professional Training Course on Education of Visually Impaired Children. It also has self-financing programs of B.Sc.IT and B.M.S degree. Such an amalgamation is the right combination for developing multi-disciplinary HEI as proposed by NEP 2020.

Background Note-NEP 2020 curated over years with active feedback and participation from all sectors of the society draws inspiration from the glorious past of India. History reminds us that India was home to World-class institutions such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Vallabhi which set the highest standards of multidisciplinary teaching and research and hosted scholars and students from across backgrounds and countries. The Indian education system produced great scholars such as Charaka, Susruta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Chanakya, Chakrapani Datta, Madhava, Panini, Patanjali, Nagarjuna, Gautama, Pingala, Sankardev, Maitreyi, Gargi, and Thiruvalluvar, who made seminal contributions to world knowledge in diverse fields such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, civil engineering, architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, yoga, fine arts, chess, and more. Indian culture and philosophy have had a strong influence on the world. Drawing lessons from such rich legacies to world heritage, NEP 2020 prescribes guidelines for HEI to nurture and preserve them for posterity. It also believes that HEI can research, enhance and put to new uses the learning from such great philosophers. This will be possible if we nurture 21st century Chanakya’s in our campuses.

India urgently needs to bring back this great Indian tradition to create well-rounded and innovative individuals, and which is already transforming other countries educationally and economically. It is not going to be long before we can recreate ancient Indian universities Takshashila, Nalanda, Vallabhi, and Vikramshila,( which had thousands of students from India and the world studying in vibrant multidisciplinary environments) in our campuses. Let me demonstrate how SNDT college of arts and SCB college of commerce and Science can start their journey towards the same-

NEP 2020 draws reference to Ancient Indian literary works such as Banabhatta’s Kadambari and describes a good education as knowledge of the 64 Kalas or arts; and among these 64 ‘arts’ were not only subjects, such as singing and painting, but also ‘scientific ’fields, such as chemistry and mathematics, ‘vocational ’ fields such as carpentry and clothes-making, ‘professional ’fields, such as medicine and engineering, as well as ‘soft skills such as communication, discussion, and debate. The very idea that all branches of creative human endeavor, including mathematics, science, vocational subjects, professional subjects, and soft skills should be considered ‘arts’, has distinctly Indian origins. The policy emphasizes that this notion of a ‘knowledge of many arts’ or what in modern times is often called the ‘liberal arts’ (i.e., a liberal notion of the arts) must be brought back to Indian education, as it is exactly the kind of education that will be required for the 21st century. Institutions like SNDT college of arts and SCB college of commerce and Science situated in the heart of the vibrant city of Mumbai offers many of these subjects currently. All that it needs is to create a meaningful curriculum integrating the subjects envisioned by NEP 2020. Here are a few options in front of the college-

(a)The college offers certificate course in Light Music, para professional course on education of visually impaired children as well as certificate course in dramatics. If these courses can be offered as credit courses and students pursuing BMS, IT, BCom allowed to take the same instead of some subjects in their course structure, the vision of NEP 2020 will be realized. Such a mixed crowd will help in developing the following-

The business enterprise perspective of a commerce student may help the dramatics students group to think of ways of commercializing their theatre group while the communication skills of the dramatics students including non-verbal communication may help the commerce student in his career.

(b)Similarly the Bachelor of visual arts can throw open certain curriculum subjects for students from other streams who would like to pursue it as a hobby, stress buster but at the same time earn credits towards their bachelor’s degree.

(C)Over a period of time these courses can be offered to students of nearby engineering/science colleges in a blended manner. The students can come over for practical sessions once a week to the campus while they learn other online course components.

(d)The rich and experienced faculty in the department of sociology, history, political science, Sanskrit, physical education need not restrict their knowledge to the boundaries of their college but offer it to the students of the outside world through online or ODL options. This is the way forward as proposed by NEP2020.

(e)Further the visionary NEP 2020 postulates that assessments of educational approaches in undergraduate education that integrate the humanities and arts with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) will bring out the desired learning outcomes in graduating students.NEP 2020 opines thus based on the finding that has consistently shown positive learning outcomes, including increased creativity and innovation, critical thinking and higher-order thinking capacities, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, communication skills, more in-depth learning, and mastery of curricula across fields achieved in a multi-disciplinary setting. Let us look at a specific example. In case students of dramatics get to interact for a credit course with engineering and science students from the nearby colleges then socially relevant awareness programs on environmental issues can be curated and rolled out. Issues related to pollution, plastic garbage can be addressed by creating street plays enacted by the dramatics students but the content for it can come from biotechnology students who have enrolled for this certificate course in dramatics. The students can be marked based on the success of this social awareness program instead of any exam.



(f)NEP 2020 proposes to establish departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, and other such subjects needed for a multidisciplinary, stimulating Indian education system. The guidelines further propose that Credits will be given in all Bachelor’s Degree programs for these subjects if they are done from such departments or through ODL mode when they are not offered in-class at the HEI. So the college like SNDT college of Arts and SCB college of commerce and science which offers many of the courses in languages, literature, Music, sociology can act as a nodal Hub to provide required faculty expertise and resources for many colleges around them specializing in pure science or commerce. Indeed there are more than 1500 colleges in Mumbai and the city attracts students from different parts of the country and the world for its bachelor’s degree courses. So colleges like SNDT college of Arts and SCB college of commerce and science will not only make their offerings more attractive by adopting the principles of NEP 2020 but also transform Mumbai into an attractive educational hub for students from small towns. Many of them come to big cities as much as to quest their artistic thirst as much as for their career and ambitions.

(g)NEP 2020 says that Institutions will have the option to run Open Distance Learning (ODL) and online programs, provided they are accredited to do so, to enhance their offerings, improve access, increase GER, and provide opportunities for lifelong learning (SDG 4). Top institutions accredited for ODL will be encouraged and supported to develop high-quality online courses. Such quality online courses will be suitably integrated into the curricula of HEIs, and blended mode will be preferred.

ODL and online education provide a natural path to increase access to quality higher education. To leverage its potential completely, ODL will be renewed through concerted, evidence-based efforts towards expansion while ensuring adherence to clearly articulated standards of quality. ODL programs will aim to be equivalent to the highest quality in-class programs available. Norms, standards, and guidelines for systemic development, regulation, and accreditation of ODL will be prepared, and a framework for the quality of ODL that will be recommendatory for all HEIs will be developed.

Colleges like SNDT college of Arts and SCB college of commerce and science, Mumbai can evolve over a period of time with many courses to be offered on the ODL platform.


India will be promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs thereby helping to restore its role as a Vishwa Guru. An International Students Office at each HEI hosting foreign students will be set up to coordinate all matters relating to welcoming and supporting students arriving from abroad.

The government proposes to facilitate Research/teaching collaborations and faculty/student exchanges with high-quality foreign institutions and relevant mutually beneficial MOUs with foreign countries are likely to be signed. High-performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries, and similarly, selected universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.

The global education development agenda reflected in the Goal 4 of sustainable developmental goals proposed by WHO and adopted by India in 2015 - seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. Such a big and ambitious goal can be achieved if the entire education system is redesigned to support and foster learning.

Colleges need to relook at their strength in the light of the NEP2020 proposal and move ahead with an innovative multidisciplinary program that can be offered in a blended mode or ODL platform.

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