To ensure the uniform application of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) across India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced a new scheme called NEP Student Ambassador for Academic Reforms in Transforming Higher Education in India (NEP SAARTHI). This initiative aims to actively involve students in the implementation of NEP 2020.
M Jagadesh Kumar, the chairman of UGC, emphasizes the significance of NEP 2020 as a vital reform that seeks to revamp the education system in India with a focus on quality, equity, and access. Kumar recognizes the pivotal role students play in this transformative process as an integral part of the education system. He emphasizes that the successful transformation of higher education necessitates collective participation and commitment from key stakeholders, including vice-chancellors, directors, principals, faculty, staff, and most importantly, students.
“To enhance student participation and create awareness regarding the various reforms outlined in NEP 2020, the UGC is introducing NEP Student Ambassador for Academic Reforms in Transforming Higher Education in India (NEP SAARTHI). Through NEP SAARTHI, the UGC aims to foster an environment that encourages meaningful student engagement and effective utilization of the provisions of NEP 2020,” explains Kumar.
As part of this initiative, the UGC has called upon vice-chancellors, directors, and principals of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to nominate three students from their respective institutions, regardless of their discipline, to be considered as NEP SAARTHIs.
The primary objectives of NEP SAARTHI are to create awareness and promote the initiatives of NEP 2020 among students on campus, motivate and encourage students to actively participate in implementing NEP 2020, establish a feedback mechanism to gauge the impact of NEP 2020 initiatives on students and address their concerns.
The nomination criteria for NEP SAARTHI include students currently pursuing higher education at various levels, including certificate, diploma, undergraduate, or postgraduate programs. According to Kumar, nominated students should possess excellent communication skills, organizational capabilities for conducting outreach programs, creativity, a sense of responsibility, and the ability to lead a team.
Each university can nominate up to three students as NEP SAARTHIs, accompanied by brief write-ups justifying the nominations. Based on these nominations, the UGC will select 300 NEP SAARTHIs from among the nominees.
Objectives of the NEP SAARTHI Initiative:
- Awareness Creation: The NEP SAARTHI initiative aims to create awareness about the various initiatives introduced in the NEP 2020 among students on campuses across the country.
- Encouraging Student Participation: It strives to motivate and encourage students to actively participate in implementing the NEP 2020 initiatives, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility towards educational reforms.
- Feedback Mechanism: The initiative seeks to establish a feedback mechanism through which the University Grants Commission (UGC) can understand the impact of NEP 2020 initiatives on students and address their concerns effectively.
Nomination Criteria for Student SAARTHIs:
- Eligibility: Students who are currently pursuing higher education at different levels are eligible to participate in the NEP SAARTHI initiative.
- Education Levels: Students pursuing certificate, diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate degrees are encouraged to apply.
- Desired Qualities: The nominated students should possess outstanding personalities, excellent communication skills, organizational capabilities to conduct outreach programs, creativity, and a strong sense of responsibility. Leadership qualities are highly valued.
Procedure for Nomination of SAARTHIs:
- Call for Nominations: The UGC will invite nominations from Vice Chancellors, Directors, Principals of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and eminent academicians.
- University Nominations: Each university can nominate up to three students as NEP SAARTHIs. The nominations should be accompanied by a brief write-up justifying the selection.
- Selection Process: Based on the nominations received, the UGC will carefully select 300 NEP SAARTHIs among the nominees.
- Announcement: The UGC will publicly announce the selected NEP SAARTHIs and communicate the results to the nominated students.
- Orientation: The chosen NEP SAARTHIs will receive orientation and guidance from the UGC to ensure they can effectively fulfill their roles. The orientation will be conducted in a hybrid mode.
Timeline for Announcement:
- May 2023: Inviting Nominations
- June 2023: Deadline for Receiving Nominations
- July 2023: Announcement of NEP SAARTHIs
- July 2023: Orientation of NEP SAARTHIs
Felicitation of the NEP SAARTHIs:
- Recognition and Certificate: The UGC will recognize the selected students as “NEP SAARTHIs” and award them a “Certificate of Recognition” for their exemplary dedication.
- Social Media Presence: The UGC will mention the NEP SAARTHIs on its official social media handles, highlighting their achievements and contributions.
- Online Event Invitations: The NEP SAARTHIs will be invited to participate in all relevant online events organized by the UGC, providing them with opportunities for further engagement.
- Newsletter Article Publication: The selected students will have the chance to publish an article in the UGC Newsletter, sharing their insights and experiences related to the NEP 2020 initiatives.
Role of NEP SAARTHIs:
- Education Ambassadors: NEP SAARTHIs will serve as ambassadors, actively promoting the key aspects of the NEP 2020 among their peers and educational communities.
- Awareness Creation: They will undertake initiatives to create awareness about the NEP 2020, ensuring that students, faculty members, administrators, and other stakeholders have a comprehensive understanding of the policy.
- Information Dissemination: NEP SAARTHIs will play a crucial role in disseminating accurate and up-to-date information about the NEP 2020 initiatives, ensuring that all relevant parties are well informed.
- Social Media Promotion: Through their active presence on social media platforms, NEP SAARTHIs will promote the NEP 2020 initiatives, reaching a wider audience and generating increased awareness and engagement.
- Feedback Collection: NEP SAARTHIs will actively collect feedback from students regarding the implementation of NEP 2020. This feedback will be valuable in identifying areas of improvement and addressing concerns effectively.
- Guidance Provision: NEP SAARTHIs will provide guidance and support to students and other stakeholders, helping them understand the various NEP 2020 initiatives and how they can benefit from them.
Responsibilities of NEP SAARTHIs:
- Awareness Drives: Organize and conduct awareness drives on campuses to educate students about the latest NEP initiatives, encouraging their active participation.
- Student Group Engagement: Connect with student groups and organizations to foster meaningful dialogue and collaboration, creating a sense of collective responsibility toward implementing the NEP 2020 initiatives.
- Dialogue Establishment: Facilitate meaningful dialogue among students, faculty members, administrators, and the UGC, ensuring that diverse perspectives are considered and productive discussions take place.
- Information Display: Prepare brief notes on each NEP initiative for display on campus, providing easily accessible information to students and sparking their interest in the policy’s objectives.
- Event Planning: Plan and organize events such as debates, discussions, competitions, quizzes, Nukkads (street plays), and Chaupals (community gatherings) that focus on NEP 2020, fostering engagement and deeper understanding.
- Social Media Engagement: Initiate and participate in social media activities and campaigns, leveraging various platforms to spread awareness about the NEP 2020 initiatives and engage with a wider audience.
- Help Desks: Set up NEP help desks during college fests or other relevant events, offering guidance and support to students and other stakeholders who seek information about the NEP 2020 initiatives.
By appointing dedicated and responsible NEP SAARTHIs and providing them with appropriate recognition and support, the government aims to effectively implement the NEP 2020 initiatives and foster a culture of active participation and awareness among students.