There were many ancient Indian universities – Taxila, Nalanda, Vallabhi and Vikramshila – and thousands of students from India and the world were studying in a vibrant multidisciplinary environment. Expect to see a very similar trend in the modern context soon. The main thrust of the NEP is to transform higher education institutions into large multidisciplinary universities, colleges and HEI clusters/knowledge centres, each with a target of 3,000 or more students.
The Education Commission in 1964-66 suggested the establishment of a group of schools offering lower grades in their neighbourhood, including anganwadis, within a radius of five to ten kilometers. This policy strongly supported the idea of school premises/clusters wherever possible. The objective of the cluster school would be greater resource efficiency and more effective functioning, coordination, leadership, governance and management of schools.
Cluster model education is a new economy competition. Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected institutions in a particular area. Paradoxically the competitive advantage in a global economy is increasingly rooted in local things – knowledge, relationships and motivation that distant rivals cannot match. Traditionally, world-class institutions have been located in Boston.
Now the sourcing of capital, goods, information and technology from around the world with the help of communication reduces the role of location as a form of competition. Educational institutions may outweigh the risks and location benefits may be irrelevant – the best educational institutions are often spread across multiple clusters.
In the cluster model, educational institutions are not competing but cooperating with each other through collaboration and sharing of resources, “one plus one” can be “three equals”.
Cluster education can help increase productivity, accelerate innovation and simulate new forms of businesses. Strategic alliances/collaborations provide access to new markets, expand geographic reach, acquire state-of-the-art technology, and relatively rapidly complement skills and core competencies.
It will help build vibrant communities of scholars and peers, break down harmful silos, enable students to be well-rounded in all disciplines including artistic, creative and analytical disciplines as well as sports, including cross-disciplinary research Develop active research communities across disciplines. and to increase resource efficiency for both material and human beings in higher education. Establishment of clusters and sharing of resources in the campuses will have many benefits by integrating academic/sports/art/craft events in school campuses, better inclusion of arts, music, language, vocational subjects, physical education, use of ICT equipments. To conduct virtual classes, better student support, enrollment, attendance and performance through sharing of social workers and mentors for stronger and better governance, monitoring, monitoring, innovations and initiatives by local stakeholders.
The cluster comprises a range of complimentary products belonging to the industries, suppliers, industries connected. Typical cluster components include suppliers, manufacturers, customers, labor markets and training institutions, financial intermediaries, think tanks, professional and industry associations, university departments and schools, regulatory institutions and bodies of law and government.
Over time, it is envisaged that each college will grow into either an autonomous degree-granting, or a constituent college of a university. The aim of a holistic and multidisciplinary education would be to develop in an integrated manner all the capabilities of human beings-intellectual, aesthetic, social, physical, emotional and moral. National Education Policy 2020 will encourage, mentor, support and encourage colleges to gradually achieve the minimum benchmark required for each level of accreditation.
(Dr Prashant Salwan is Professor of Strategy at IIM Indore; Dr. Srinivasan R. Iyengar is Director and Professor in the area of Strategy at JBIMS, University of Mumbai)
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Published on: Saturday, April 16, 2022, 12:23 pm IST