“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.”
The National Education Policy 2020 (hereinafter referred to as NEP) was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020. The NEP proposes a paradigm shift on how education is disbursed by various institutions present in the country. This was a much-needed move as the current education system appears to be rigid and was unable to encourage innovative and out-of-the-box thinking. The NEP seeks to establish an educational landscape that caters to the overall-development of students in order to create a more abled work force to enhance India’s global competitivity.
Creativity and innovation remain at the heart of the Policy. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (now, the Ministry of Education) has recognized that India lags behind when it comes to research and innovation. This lack of creative and critical thinking mainly stems from the fact that the current educational framework does not award such thinking. This has resulted in stagnation of IP. Creativity results in innovation and innovation eventually results in the generation of Intellectual Property. By introducing many transformational reforms, the NEP will undoubtedly result in the increased generation of ideas. Given below is a list of educational reforms given in the NEP which will result in the proliferation of Intellectual Property:
- Establishment of the National Research Foundation (NRF)
The NRF will provide merit-based peer-reviewed research funding to various academic institutions and research organisations. The main objective of the establishment of such a foundation is to create a culture of research across various educational and research oriented institutes across the country. The funding provided by such a body will result in the enhancement of research capabilities of universities and colleges which would eventually translate to the creation of innovative ideas. The NEP has explicitly mentioned that the Research and Innovation (R&I) investment of India has only been 0.69% of the GDP, whereas countries such as United States (2.8%), China (2.1%), Israel (4.3%), and South Korea (4.2%) have invested a considerably larger portion of their GDP. By creating such a foundation, the government seeks to bolster and energize the overall research ecosystem, which currently suffers from inefficient funding.
- The abolishment of Rote Learning
The NEP recognizes the culture of rote learning in the Indian Education system and aims at developing an educational environment inculcating real understanding and Conceptual to foster innovative thinking in the youth.
Unfortunately, the system of rote-learning is the fundamental learning methodology adopted by majority of the students all over India. This is mainly due to the fact that the curriculum present in our country incentivizes memorising facts, formulae and definitions from content-heavy textbooks. This hard-wired habit of rote learning coupled with the lack of ability to apply knowledge in real life situations has hindered innovation in our country for a long time. It has resulted in the death of creativity and original ideas. Students have been so hard-wired to absorb information and then reproduce it in the answer sheet without applying their own mind, resultantly majority of youth lack basic analytical skills.
The NEP, so as to inculcate innovative and analytical thinking in students, has purported a more flexible and best-of-multiple attempts assessments that primarily test core capacities. By offering students the free choice to choose subjects in accordance to their interests, the NEP allows students to fully explore fields which they may not have if the current policy was allowed to continue. Additionally, the NEP has suggested annual/semester/modular Board Exams which will test primarily core capacities rather than months of coaching and memorisation. This will also allow students to invest their time in more innovative and research-based activities due to less exam pressure. Students will now have the ability to investigate topics which may not necessarily fall within the syllabus.
- Streamlining PhDs and Degrees with Research
The NEP states that students may directly apply for a PhD after completing their Masters Degree. By making a PhD more accessible by discontinuing the requirement of an M.Phil degree, the research capacity of India will increase significantly. With more PhD students will come more research and with more research will come more thought leadership. The NEP also recommends the creation of “Degrees with Research”, which will be awarded to students on completing a rigorous research project in their major areas of study as specified by higher education institutions. Currently, there is no such Degree. Therefore, there is no driving force for undertaking research in colleges and universities. However, with the advent of Degree with Research, the research process will be incentivized and will hence result in more innovative research projects.
- Fuelling Research and Innovation in Colleges and Universities
The NEP envisions setting up start-up incubation centres, technology development centres, centres in frontier areas of research; greater industry-academic linkages; and interdisciplinary research including humanities and social sciences research in colleges and universities. By offering such hand-holding mechanisms, projects will now receive support which was unavailable to them for so many years. Inventive products and services will flourish due to the introduction of such a support structure and which would undoubtedly result in the creation of more IP. Students will now have the ability to execute their ideas and inventions with relative ease.
- Education 4.0 and the National Education Technology Forum
The usage of technology driven solutions for educating the population is a major feature of the NEP. It talks about how technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chains, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive computer testing will be deployed to support education, and how other forms of educational software and hardware will not just change what students learn in the classroom but how they learn. This will eventually increase the demand for tech driven educational solutions. For the development of such technology, the NEP states that an autonomous body by the name of National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be created to facilitate the free flow of innovative ideas in the Ed-Tech field. The NETF will organize multiple regional and national conferences, workshops, etc. to gather inputs from national and international educational technology stakeholders. It will act as a knowledge base for researchers and entrepreneurs in the field. The outcome of such a technological landscape for education will be that Intellectual Property will be regularly created.
- Disruptive Technologies
The Policy proposes that Higher education institutes will conduct extensive research and will soon offer courses and instructional materials on disruptive technologies (AI, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, etc.). The MHRD has recognized that disruptive technologies may soon replace humans. Therefore, while drafting the NEP, the MHRD sought it necessary to upskill the next generation in such technology. The NEP also states that the NRF will initiate and subsequently expand research efforts in AI. This may lead to a rapid increase in the number of inventions based on such disruptive technology.