According to the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality’. This idea was further reiterated in high level documents and reports such as ‘Learning: The Treasure Within’ which was submitted to UNESCO in 1996. This report propagated that education must be based on four pillars which include ‘learning to know’, as in not just acquiring knowledge but learning how to learn in order to become life-long learners; ‘learning to do’ meaning not just being able to do occupational work but the ability to deal with a wide array of different situations; ‘learning to live together’ which includes the idea of pluralism; and ‘learning to be’ meaning that one improves his own unique personality to the fullest without any rigid hindrance from the institutions imparting education. These ideas of holistic education are in sync with reports from various elite institutions such as the UNESCO, the OECD, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the Brookings Institution who emphasize not just on literacy and cognitive skills but also upon Social and Emotional Learning so that graduates are truly educated and not just literate.
In order this objective there is a need for higher education system to convert itself into large multidisciplinary institutions with teaching programmes across disciplines. This would help students become well-rounded, develop a multi-disciplinary perspective in solving problems, design thinking and in research, provide students a diverse range of peer group interaction and improve the efficient use of resources at institutions. For these reasons, there also needs to be a more liberal idea of education particularly at the undergraduate level. Curriculum structures need to be framed flexibly and do away with the existing rigidity in the system and enable students with various entry and exit points under the aegis of multidisciplinary education. Last but not the least, the curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment must move away from mere rote learning but must be guided by overarching educational goals along with embedding sound academic, financial, social and psychological support systems for students particularly for those from disadvantaged groups.
These virtues have very much been adopted by the National Education Policy and therefore the subject rating is based on these ideas where they have been given a solid structure in order to convert these generic ideals into organised criteria for the concrete assessment of universities.
For the last century, if not since the beginning, education has always been about acquiring the correct knowledge. The primary goal of educational institutions was to impart knowledge to the society and thereby to prepare individuals to take part in functioning of a country’s economy, politics and society. However, this has significantly changed with time and especially in the last two decades education has become axiomatic to train the students with necessary skills to meet the requirements of the job market.
To meet this transformative changes, higher education must adapt to the new norms and shun the redundant methods, whereby the old fashion of rigid learning process will pave the way for more new changes. Higher education should be about multi-disciplinary, must focus more on solving problems and allow students to collaborate at various levels. For these obvious reasons, the curriculum structures must be open, flexible, and more adaptable towards the new age.
QS I•GAUGE has framed its subject rating methodology for Indian institutions keeping a long term objective in mind, where institutions are evaluated based on how specific subjects are taught to fulfil the current market trend and allow for future adaptation.