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COVID-19: Educational Institutes In Odisha To Remain Closed Till End of Durga Puja

Keeping in view the concerns expressed by students and parents, it has been decided to close schools and colleges till the end of Durga Puja holidays, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement. The five-day Durga Puja festival is slated to be held between October 22 and October 26.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday announced that all educational institutions in the state till end of Durga Puja vacation in view of the prevailing pandemic situation. The announcement was made by Patnaik after reviewing the situation due to COVID-19 in the state.

The Chief Minister said the decision has been taken to allay fears and apprehension in the minds of students and their guardians about the prevailing situation. Educational institutions across the state have been closed since March 17, two days after the first coronavirus case was reported in the state, an official said.

Earlier in the day, the School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash had said that the state government will take a decision in regard to reopening of schools after the centre releases guidelines for the month of September. He said the government has meanwhile started online classes for students and conceded that 22 lakh of the total 60 lakh students in government and government aided schools can avail of the facility due to lack of proper internet connections. The higher education department has started online classes for college and university students, an official said.

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National Education Policy, 2020

Why in News

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 with an aim to introduce several changes in the Indian education system - from the school to college level.

The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education. The NEP cleared by the Cabinet is only the third major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence. The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.

Key Points

Higher Education:

Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035. Also, 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education. The current Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 26.3%.

Holistic Undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.

M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.

Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate Transfer of Credits.

Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.

The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.

Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards. Also, HECI will be having four independent verticals namely, National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.

Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, every college is expected to develop into either an autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

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