Welcoming 2024 with a closing one-liner

I promise to take the readers through different journeys to experience the edu-wonderland from 2024 and beyond. 
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

As 2023 is almost coming to a close, I recall one my earliest debut season articles of 2010 on the highly debatable NASSCOM-McKinsey study that generalised the employability of Indian engineering graduates based on a diminutive sample response in a manner that almost trivialised the progress of the globally competitive Indian IT services industry during the late 90s and early 2000s and despite the report, the rush for engineering admissions (especially in the circuit branches) went unabated thanks to the mushrooming of engineering colleges all over the country that resulted in engineering colleges raking in moolah along with medical colleges making capitation fee the number two black money generator to only catch the attention of law makers (government and its agencies) and law interpreters (high courts and Supreme Court), which is till today swinging like a pendulum taking extreme positions unable to find its middle point still creating vulnerable and porous admission holes that facilitate march of money over merit which in a way has also opened up alternate study options for the enterprising youth towards non-STEM education and for a few to pursue higher education abroad at high costs creating a hole in the forex reserves but providing a life-time opportunity to experience creative and new-world experience resulting in India overtaking China in exporting students to foreign universities despite the foreign universities bill (regulations), which is an unsavoury pill that may neither reverse the foreign currency nor student flow unless flexible autonomy is provided to deserving Indian higher education institutions which is slowly happening through reforms, some of which pre-dating NEP 2020 and more coming through NEP 2020, which is an edu-Pokhran with policies fired to achieve progressive targets not only in higher education, but also in school, vocational, skill and teacher education through comprehensive changes starting from basic to medium to advanced research serving the appetite of multiple types of institutions with room for building foreign collaborations and all of the policies have some elements of modularity, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and sustainability (MIDAS) blended in hybrid mode to leverage the best of both brick and mortar and bits and bytes forms driven by the charioting regulators, who hold different ropes to tighten the same institution with the ropes themselves intertwined to be one through the much-awaited National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill which can further oxygenate the strangulated institutions capable of running an edu-marathon than the usual sprint in a manner and style that suits each of their characteristics—teaching, teaching-cum-research, research or multi-disciplinary education and research institutions from both the public and private space as borders between both needing to disappear considering that there are good and bad in both public and private ecosystem and all types of stakeholders need to become beneficiaries of NEP 2020 in one or multiple ways and provide different forms of human capital to different end-users in different geographies without the need to excessively rely on foreign universities as Bharat sees the second coming of its first leadership position of the past as endorsed by the increasing Indian presence in world rankings, patents, publications, new knowledge creation, success of Indian graduates world-wide, etc. at an unprecedented pace capable of marshalling all possible edu-assets to progress further in the contemporary world of cut-throat educational competition that necessitates the continuous creation of incremental value in every link of the edu-value chain making the entire chain the strongest not only in size but also in scale as Bharat, which has the world’s highest demographic dividend, needs to succeed in the volume game to become the knowledge capital of the world (vishwaguru) and succeed not only in quantity, but also in quality through its much anticipated new accreditation and rating framework that promotes collaborative competition amongst higher education institutions and it is in this spirit of coherent and competitive synergy lies the success of NEP 2020 which is to many the universal education solvent, elixir of knowledge and a perpetual skilling machine and the convergence of these is well positioned to create new pathways unchartered hitherto to lead the nation to an educational wonderland to be reached by hard working real-time foot soldiers and not arm-chairing imaginary paratroopers and as the journey to the wonderland begins, I realise that I have typed the longest sentence of 2023 for my article series so far and shall stop here. I promise to take the readers through different journeys to experience the edu-wonderland from 2024 and beyond. 

S Vaidhyasubramaniam

Vice-Chancellor, SASTRA Deemed University


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