NEP a game-changer for India’s Higher Education sector: UKIBC-Pearson India white paper

By Kealan Finnegan

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company and the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) have collaboratively released a white paper titled ‘Supporting India’s Higher Education Sector Transformation’. The paper identifies key opportunities and growth areas for Higher Education in the country, asserting that the National Education Policy (NEP) will be a potential game-changer for students and higher education institutions alike. Core to India’s higher education reforms, the NEP seeks to widen access to high quality education in India, formalise and enlarge technical and vocational training (TVET), and promote global mobility.

According to the white paper, India would benefit greatly from growth of TVET in the country, to better prepare learners for future work by equipping them with relevant employability skills. A key NEP objective is to increase TVET enrolments in partnership with industry and NGOs.

A study cited in the paper by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) found that India is staring at a skill deficit of 29 million by 2030. Online education and vocational training, both identified as priority areas in the NEP, will play an extensive role in bridging this divide.

The paper’s release comes on the back of recent approval by the University Grants Commission for Indian universities to partner with foreign universities to deliver Dual, Joint and Twinning Degree Programmes. This will enable students to transition between India and other countries, unlock new opportunities, and create wide ranging cross-border linkages that go well beyond the Higher Education sector.

Sharing his thoughts on the launch of the white paper, Siddharth Banerjee, Managing Director, Pearson India & Asia said, “As a key stakeholder in India’s Higher Ed sector, it is crucial for us to understand how the space will evolve in the future. Our collaboration with UKIBC was a step in this direction. It is becoming increasingly critical to integrate 21st-century skills as part of early learning. Building a strong foundation will help young learners in their preparation for the world. Pearson India is aligned with the momentum of holistic learning and is constantly generating value to the same by creating a continuum between skills and education.”

Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC/John Mountford, Associate Director, UKIBC said, “Working with Pearson on this critical research in the Higher Education space in India and the role of NEP was an insightful journey. In India, and across the world, online learning and blended delivery models are becoming increasingly important in improving access to Higher Education. At the same time,  it is clear that the skills that students need for the 21st century workplace are changing, and technical and vocational training has a key role in equipping students with the  skills demanded by employers. We commend the Government of India on its forward thinking approach through the National Education Policy and will work closely with Indian and UK stakeholders to draw insights from the policy’s implementation and maximise its positive impact.”

The utilisation of online learning is becoming increasingly recognized as an important opportunity to promote access to Higher Education. This prioritization is also reflected in the National Education Policy’s recommendations for online learning development, including investing in digital infrastructure and focusing on blended learning models. With the country at the cusp of tremendous digital transformation, Pearson is helping learners build new, innovative skills by delivering a wide range of digital-first solutions, quality, authentic & credible content, courseware, world-class assessments, and qualifications.

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