New Delhi, Jul 29 (PTI) The new National Education Policy, approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, will promote skill-based learning, create a solid digital infrastructure to massify education, improve accountability and employability, according to industry executives.

A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of M.Phil programmes, low stakes board exams, common entrance exams for universities are among the highlights of the NEP 2020. The education policy, framed in 1986, was last revised in 1992.

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"India's much-awaited New Education Policy (NEP), in spirit a harbinger of directional change and sectoral reforms, is expected to open fresh avenues for India's education sector in the 21st century," Rajendra S Pawar, chairman and co-founder of NIIT Ltd and founder of NIIT University, said.

He added that the intent of spending six per cent of GDP on education will make the defining change.

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Neeti Sharma, senior vice-president at TeamLease Services, said the new policy is a positive move towards augmenting learning in India.

"It will improve overall accountability in the ecosystem. One of the key aspects that the policy has addressed is the implementation of the choice-based credit system — a multi-disciplinary approach that will provide flexibility to students to choose between programmes of choice," she said.

Sharma added that degree-linked apprenticeship is another area that required attention to make our learning ecosystem more holistic.

All of this put together will help us scale learning, improve accessibility and enhance employability, she said.

The NEP is also expected to provide a fillip to the education technology (ed-tech) sector in the country.

"I expect a significant push for online education, as right now 'education' and 'online education' are synonymous. The push would invariably lead to mushrooming of more ed-tech players in the already crowded sector, allowing choices for the learner and fuelling a price war for the players," upGrad MD and co-founder Mayank Kumar said.

He added that this is where quality, one of the foundational pillars the draft NEP is based on, will drive value and outcome for the learners.

Skill Monks founder and CEO Rameswar Mandali said the new policy will give an impetus to India's vision of becoming the global knowledge superpower.

"NEP's intent to increase the gross enrolment ratio, including vocational education from 26.3 per cent to 50 per cent, will drive positive change in our economy," he added.

Mandali also said the new approach of skill-based learning from an early foundation level of academics will help learners identify skill sets much earlier, thereby empowering students to be future-ready.

Sridhar Rajagopalan, co-founder and chief learning officer at Educational Initiatives, said the approach to offer education in mother tongue or local language at least till class 5 has a lot of benefits.

"Pedagogical research has established beyond much doubt that children learn best if they learn in their mother tongue (or local language) in the primary classes," he added.

Rajagopalan also said this does not mean that children should not learn English, it only means that English should not be the medium of instruction in the primary years.

Schoolguru Eduserve founder and CEO Shantanu Rooj said the NEP has focused on creating a solid digital infrastructure that will help massify education and improve accountability.

"The focus is on the learning outcome along with a sea-change in the examination system. It shall bring a change in the mind set around the rat-race to just get marks," he added.

Rooj also said that additionally, allowing more universities to launch online degrees has also been a long-awaited demand and this will now further improve opportunities in the ecosystem.

Nitin Potdar, partner at J Sagar Associates, said the new rules will help harness the 'human capital' of the country and have the potential to create a workforce that would fulfil the global demand workforce and leadership.

Client Executive Chairman B V R Mohan Reddy said success in knowledge-driven and innovation-driven world order depends largely on the capabilities of the people, and education (both school and higher education) is the key to building the requisite capabilities.

"The policy presents several forward-looking initiatives for universal access to education and paves way for high student inclusion," he added.

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