NEP rollout: Colleges scramble to hire teachers and upgrade infrastructure

Increase in enrolment and National Education Policy’s focus on multi-disciplinary electives pose a challenge

Degree colleges, which are seeing a rise in admissions for the 2021-2022 academic year, are scrambling to rope in additional guest faculty members and improve infrastructure to meet the demand. The need for more teachers and classrooms is all the more necessary owing to the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 which offers new electives and a multi-disciplinary approach to learning, said college managements.

A principal of a government degree college said that admissions in Humanities have increased by 40% compared to the previous year. “Last year, I needed around 14 guest faculty members but this year, I will need at least 30,” the principal said.

Most colleges are introducing new electives across streams as stipulated by the NEP which has been rolled out for the first time this academic year for undergraduate programmes.

Under the NEP, students have the freedom to choose any three subjects — two from a particular discipline (such as Arts, Science and Commerce), while one elective can be chosen from the same discipline or any other stream.

K.R. Venugopal, Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, said that as colleges have to offer a diverse range of electives, many will have to improve their existing infrastructure and hire more faculty members.

“Colleges that have a high student strength and offer courses in different streams can manage. However, it will be a challenge for those that offer courses in a single stream and have a small student strength. They will need to introduce new electives under different streams for which they will need to hire new faculty members,” he said.

C.B. Annapurnamma, principal of National College, Basavanagudi, said that students in her college have chosen different electives. “We will definitely face a shortage of classroom and faculty members. Students have another week to finalise their electives. Once this is finalised, we will brainstorm and chalk out how many more classrooms and faculty members we would need,” she said.

Even smaller colleges acknowledge that they will have to make this investment if they want to remain relevant and attract students by offering a range of electives.

Prof. Venugopal acknowledged that there would also be an “imbalance” and shortage of classrooms for smaller colleges. “If colleges are not able to address this, they will not be able to give students the option to choose different electives, and it will be no different from the past academic year,” he added.

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