New Education Policy – New Regulator

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Finally, light is shining on India’s education system. The Govt. of India, Ministry of Education has announced a new education policy and of all the major initiatives two major highlights are Self Declaration and E Courses.

No more time wasting INSPECTIONS. What a relief!

College managements will be particularly happy as they are used to watch, over the years, the senior faculty and assisting faculty spending hours on end preparing for an upcoming inspection.

The inspector raj was dismantled in industry in 1991. It took Modiji and his team another 29 yrs to implement the same in education system.

There are multiple inspections a Engineering College has to face year on year. NAAC, AICTE and NIRF. Additionally, the University had its own checking and the State Govt. too.

My opinion is that all inspections will be dismantled and only NIRF will be retained.

I have been following competitive working of colleges, particularly Engineering Colleges for the past many years. This was because of my previous startup, in which we used to sell books and online tools which taught engineering students how to develop an erp system.

During this journey, I could see how ill equipped many of the students were from the employability perspective.

A few months back, I had told Mr. Sudish, an veteran in engineering admissions that all inspections will be removed and NIRF will be retained. Being experienced, he immediately agreed.

Today, my expectation is proven true.

As a side note, I also believe that some faculty at Engineering Colleges will be unhappy as inspection visits were a diversion and an opportunity to while away time in preparing meaningless charts and tables.

The Govt. will save hundreds of crores as teams of senior Professors would tour all over India and have a grand vacation, while spending a few hrs in colleges.

College managements will have to be extra careful as they have to self declare and stand by their declaration. If they are found lying, the penalties can be severe.

The Self Regulatory framework is a system which encourages self declaration amongst ‘legal’ persons (firms, institutions, companies).  When industries become vast and diverse in terms of their functionality, a regulator will begin to focus on efficient oversight.

In the past, regulators have relied on self declaratory mechanisms to achieve this where the market players are encouraged to declare key information based on parameters or data fields pre decided by the regulator. There is an attestation involved – the firm essentially tells the regulator that the information that is being presented is the truth and the whole truth. The attestation signifies that the firm has disclosed all aspects in a bona fide manner. 

The regulator then bases their decision on risk rating, quality rating, legal action, and due diligence based on this declaratory statement. However, misrepresentation or fraudulent behaviour will attract a higher penalty. The legal rationale behind this is that if the firm / institution / organisation opts for relaxed diligence from the regulator it must holds itself to high standards of accurate representation. 

So, who is the new regulator.

The one which colleges have been avoiding altogether or mostly, all these years.

The MARKET and the INDUSTRY will be the new invisible Regulator.

This regulator will not visit your engineering college, nor give general guidelines or have forms to fill up.

The college has to find its own place in the market and work to retain it.

Colleges which understand the new paradigm will turn their focus towards a higher NIRF rank.

NIRF Rank is like Ease of Doing Business Index.

Companies worldwide will look at the EODB rank of a country to start initial discussions for setting up industries and doing business.

Similarly, colleges and companies will look at NIRF rank to consider joining or to establish professional relationships.

The question is how to attain a higher NIRF Rank. Is gaming the ranking system possible. Please do not try it!

College managements will have to do an internal strength assessment. Of all the resources colleges have, faculty is their biggest resource.

Colleges will have to depend on their younger faculty aged 30 to 40 yrs to connect to the Industry.

Without a strong Industry connect, colleges can say goodbye to NIRF or maybe survival.

To have a strong industry connect, subject specialisation is essential.

Subjects mastered 20 yrs back will not help. Latest and futuristic, domain specific subject specialisation is important.

For instance, Electronics specialisation will not help.

Electronics in Power Grids, for Smart Cities will be the right specialisation.

Another example.

Sensors subject specialisation will not help.

Subject specialisation in Sensors for Agriculture will be the right way forward.

A paradigm shift will happen. The sooner a college catches the trend and adopts it will be better.

60 to 70 % of the college faculty strength will have to be involved in the industry connect subject specialisation initiative.

As per law of averages, 10 to 15% success rate can be expected in industry. Which will put the engineering college in a safe position.

These subject specialist faculty will become the channels for Industry connect.

What Engineering Colleges need is an inexpensive, practical first step.

My suggestion will be to start MY DIGITAL INITIATIVE for Faculty. I have floated and tested this idea with many senior faculty and all have agreed that this is a good way to go.

Younger faculty are raring to go, if the managements agree!

I have published a series of articles to help you start this initiative in your Engineering Colleges.

Where are our Faculty?

FAQ on My Digital Asset

For new Faculty

My Digital Asset

Please read them. If you have questions feel free to contact me.

If you care about India’s Engineering Education do share this article.

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