After several organisations of students and teachers raised objections to the option of multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) in the national education policy (NEP), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, headed by BJP MP Vivek Thakur, has advised the Centre to hold discussions with all stakeholders on it. The panel, in a report titled ‘Implementation of the National Education Policy, 2020 in Higher Education’, said Indian institutions were likely to face several issues in implementing this system. The report was tabled in both Houses of Parliament during the recently concluded special session.
The NEP proposes multiple entry and multiple exit options for the students in higher education. The panel said while MEME looked like a flexible system, which was being operated by western educational institutions effectively, it might not work well in the country. The panel, citing high population, said the estimated intake of students in higher education every year was high. “If institutions allow MEME, it would be very difficult for the institutions to predict how many students would exit and how many would join midway. Since institutions would not know the in- and out-traffic, it will certainly disturb the pupil-teacher ratio,” the report said.
The members in the panel also expressed concern that uneven geographical distribution of higher educational institutions would create hurdles in managing MEME in several areas, mostly countryside. “The institutions have not thought very clearly about this problem and how they will resolve it when it is at their doorstep,” the report said.
The panel, though noted that MEME will offer students greater flexibility and choice in their educational pathways, asked the Centre to develop comprehensive guidelines and a well-defined framework for MEME options, including specific eligibility criteria, credit transfer mechanisms providing clear road map for students pursuing different exit points. “Also, implementation of a standardised Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT) system that allows students to earn and transfer credits seamlessly across institutions would facilitate smooth transitions between different levels of education, from certificate courses to doctoral programmes,” the report said, and added that there were issues and difficulties in implementing the MEME options.
The panel recommended the Union Education Ministry to have wider consultations with various universities/institutions, their regulatory bodies and other stakeholders to devise ways in view of the difficulties being faced in implementing the MEME options and apprise the panel of it.
Students and teachers had raised apprehensions about MEME. “It will reduce the value of one’s degree and this is a way to produce cheap labour for the job market. It’s an eyewash and we want the existing system to continue,” said Students Federation of India general secretary Mayukh Biswas. The Kerala government has decided not to implement MEME in colleges and universities in the State. The curriculum document of the State had said that the government would allow multiple entry, but exit will be allowed either after three years with a degree or after four years with honours degree.