UGC to launch portal to implement NEP in higher educational institutions

The portal is likely to be launched by the end of February, he said. “Information related to higher education has always been in demand by policymakers, students and researchers globally.
For representational purpose (Photo | Express illustration))
For representational purpose (Photo | Express illustration))

NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) will soon launch a portal, which will help to effectively track and support the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 and its strategic initiatives across the country’s Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). 

Speaking with this newspaper, UGC chairman Prof M Jagadesh Kumar said the portal – UTSAH (Undertaking Transformative Strategies and Actions in Higher Education) – will also provide detailed information about UGC’s initiatives for qualitative reforms.

The portal is likely to be launched by the end of February, he said. “Information related to higher education has always been in demand by policymakers, students and researchers globally. Timely, reliable and authentic information is the backbone of effective and informed policy formulation for social and economic development,” Prof Kumar said.

“The data collected on the UTSAH Portal will be beneficial for policy-making within and outside the government,” he said. The portal has a user-friendly interface that will help HEIs to submit information regarding their initiatives, achievements and best practices. It will also help track outputs and outcomes across essential fields, he said. 

It has been developed after consultations with various stakeholders, including institutions, universities, colleges, IITs, IIMs and others. The main aim of the portal will be to gather information from HEIs focused on ten major thrust areas for which key performance indicators and the activities targeted to achieve them have been identified.

One of the major areas is multidisciplinary and holistic education. Under this, the key performance indicator will be the adoption of the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC). This facility contains information on credits earned by individual students of HEIs as envisioned under NEP. 

Other key indicators will be multiple entry and exit, multidisciplinary programmes and curricular and credit framework.

According to the UGC chairman, the other major thrust areas are digital empowerment and online education; skill development and employability; research, innovation and entrepreneurship; capacity building of teachers for quality education; governance and autonomy; quality, ranking and accreditation; equitable and inclusive education; promotion of Indian languages and Indian knowledge systems and internationalisation of education.

He said each thrust area would have key indicators like digital empowerment. Online education will consist of open and distance learning and online programmes, digital nodal centres, SWAYAM and other Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms.

Similarly, quality, ranking and accreditation will include information from HEIs regarding participation in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) and other global rankings and rank-wise accreditation status by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), National Board of Accreditation (NBA) or any other international agency.

Internationalisation of education, one of the major thrust areas that will see a significant push this year, will include academic collaborations between Indian and foreign HEIs leading to twinning, joint and dual degrees, establishing an office for international affairs, and alums connect.

The portal will also help in visualising the data’s various dimensions, identifying challenges and shortcomings and developing strategies to improve the quality of higher education in India. 

“The information from this portal will bring insights into the growth of the higher education sector in the country and help in making informed policy-making and future perspective planning,” he said, adding that the portal will be open 24X7 throughout the year.

All the HEIs will be required to log in to the portal and furnish information on the various activities under the umbrella of the ten thrust areas. UGC will then generate a monthly report.

In this regard, the regulations, guidelines, and frameworks issued by the UGC will also be readily available through a hyperlink for the information of all stakeholders.

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