Here is why entrepreneurship education must be incorporated as a five-year plan to make NEP a success

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Here is why entrepreneurship education must be incorporated as a five-year plan to make NEP a success

Posted by: Nitin Potdar
Category: Uncategorized

The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 makes various provisions for entrepreneurship education as part of the curriculum but fails to provide any roadmap for implementation writes Nitin Potdar

The draft proposals of the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 has come at the right time. Our unemployment level is highest in the last 45 years and things could only get worse given the rise of data analytics, machine learning and use of robotics.
Moreover, it has also been reported that the world’s leading companies such as Apple, IBM, and Google, are looking for skills over college degrees. Yes, that is right. They feel college degrees and marks, that have always been the barometer for smartness, is no longer valid. They believe in giving jobs to people who have invested in self-learning, innovation, passion and having clear goals. In other words, the future would belong to those who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Entrepreneurship education hones these skills

Entrepreneurship, and more particularly entrepreneurship education, provides these skills to an individual. Furthermore, when this education is imparted at the school level, it changes the game completely. It teaches children to think out-of-the-box and nurtures unconventional talents such as creativity and problem-solving. Also, it creates opportunity, ensures social justice, instills confidence and stimulates the economy. The urgency is more since the statistics are alarming at one level and classic jobs are diminishing at another due to large global companies changing their attitude towards academics.

And to make things worse, the current education system has miserably failed to equip the students with the skills needed to cope with the corporate requirement. A study by ASSOCHAM reveals that 95% of engineering graduates cannot code and around 93% of management graduates are unemployable.

The serious academics-industry need-gap can be addressed firstly by creating a robust education system and empowering it with new-age skills, which consider future reality. The current system urgently requires a rehaul and entrepreneurship education is the only way forward. The faster our policymakers and academicians understand this reality; the more secure our children’s future will become.

The new education policy

Evidently, it is heartening to see the MHRD come out with the NEP 2019 to address and plug the various loopholes in the current education system of India. Apart from several suggestions, it has mentioned the need for entrepreneurship education at various levels of the academic hierarchy.

Chapter 5 (teachers) for instance, says schools will be permitted to hire local eminent persons or experts in various subjects including entrepreneurship. Chapter 14 (national research foundation) mentions special efforts and schemes that will be undertaken which “leverages Indian diaspora towards research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the country”. Chapter 16 talks of entrepreneurship and professional education, especially about the curriculum that calls to ensuring postgraduates must acquire knowledge, skills, self-confidence and entrepreneurship training.

In Chapter 20, the policy talks about the National Policy on Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (NPSDE) that implies that all educational institutions must integrate vocational education into mainstream education in a phased manner in collaboration with ITIs, polytechnics, local businesses, and more, to provide students with practical training with associated theoretical knowledge. These programmes must include, says the policy, important courses in life skills such as entrepreneurship, digital and financial literacy, communication skills, etc.

Further, it talks about introducing short term certificate courses in life skills such as entrepreneurship and soft skills for students in main stream education and encouraging universities and colleges to set up incubation centres and centres of excellence to nurture the ideas of students developing an entrepreneurship culture among them.

Implement entrepreneurship as a five-year plan

Ideally these proposals and overtures ought to have been clubbed under one separate standalone initiative titled ‘entrepreneurship education’ with specific targets set for each year by each constituent for its implementation in terms of five-years plan – similar to the one implemented in the country since 1950s that would have offered the much-desired focus and commitment to create a robust ecosystem to convert job seekers to job creators. In the absence of the focused approach, many of these proposals may just remain on paper despite good intentions.

The NEP 2019 should have addressed the following:

• Committed time frame to introduce entrepreneurship education right from primary and secondary schools, colleges and vocational learning institutions with detailed design for the building of incubation centres and research labs for Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
• Allow foreign universities/institutions working in the field of entrepreneurship to freely set up their centres/facilities or collaborate with Indian educational institutions.

• Create a roadmap for students who are budding entrepreneurs with regulatory changes for ease of starting businesses, including creating a national fund to be used as seed capital and aid in creating new markets for them.

• Incentivise existing industries to create incubation centres and research labs in their respective industry. This would develop and upgrade curriculum for students and budding entrepreneurs. Outline the role for industry experts to mentor young budding entrepreneurs under a policy of each-one-teach-one.

It is only when the government shows this level of seriousness that the entrepreneurship education will take off in this country.

Nitin Potdar
Author: Nitin Potdar

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