Multidisciplinary learning critical to produce holistic individuals

The National Education Policy (NEP) aims to overhaul India’s learning practices and standards. While the NEP will be implemented fully over the course of this decade starting from 2021-22, an urgent focus on multidisciplinary learning is recommended in the policy to create holistic individuals for the future.

The NEP plans to set up one large multidisciplinary college in every district by 2030. Within the same time frame, the policy aims to make all higher education institutions in the country multidisciplinary with at least 300 student enrolments. 

Experts feel these steps can go a long way in solving the capacity and employability problems that have been plaguing Indian education.

Also Read: Delhi University to discontinue M.Phil from next academic session

For instance, an engineering student can opt for a subject from humanities. It, therefore, provides an opportunity for students to build diverse perspectives from different disciplines to better understand a theme or a subject. 

“When they go out, a science student needs humanities and a humanities student needs science. We work with a lot of engineering organisations and it is a very common critique by employers that the Indian higher education system does not produce holistic individuals,” says Rajiv Tandon, CEO – Executive Education, BITS Pilani, Work Integrated Learning Programmes (WILP).

Following the NEP recommendations, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also recommended Vice-Chancellors of all colleges and higher education institutions to implement ‘multi-disciplinary and holistic education’ across disciplines. 

Also Read: Education ministry forms committee to develop new curriculums for school

Thanks to the NEP, future models can be expected to offer imaginative and flexible curricular structures that can accommodate creative combinations of disciplines for study and multiple entry and exit points. 

It will allow students to focus on a major subject while exploring across the arts, humanities and sciences for minors. Manish Mohta, Managing Director of online examination solution provider Learning Spiral, says along with such core changes, the methodology of assessment needs intervention. 

“If you are not measuring the skill gaps and learning outcomes, how will you ever have a plan to improve these? We need to revamp the methodology of assessing students and bring digital intervention in assessment,” he says.