Perspectives On Influence Of Draft National Educational Policy On Psychology As A Discipline

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For nearly a century, academic psychological science in India has continued to be an alien discipline. Within the starting of the last Century, psychology was foreign lock-stock-barrel from the West and was initially implanted in 1916 in Calcutta University. The Western mode of research and teaching contributed the basis on which Indian research advanced for an extended period. For Indian psychologists consummate within the western traditions, it has been an extended journey to turn towards their own heritage and haul Indian ideas and theories to understanding Indian social reality.

In this long history, considerations are voiced from time to time to align psychological science with up to date social problems, so as to meet the challenges of rapid socioeconomic and global changes. Citing back, one forms an impression that psychology in India has been rambling to seek out its roots in its own native knowledge, although it still must cowl abundant ground to turn into a science of Indian origin. The multidisciplinary approach in NEP might promote to satisfy this gap.

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Studying a subject from viewpoint of over one discipline would facilitate in participating in multidisciplinary research. By teaming up with complementary research groups for instance law and forensic psychology or social psychology and sociology one can mix the collective expertise and gain synergy. This can lead to enhanced possibilities in original high impact research and potential to induce additional output with less work. Going multidisciplinary does not mean giving up our own specialism. For multidisciplinary projects to work, collaboration should be found that is capable to deliver results while not being too painful. A typical mistake is to seek out people with the same expertise as ourselves which is natural as those members of community we are familiar with. The challenge is to seek out complementary expertise outside our comfort zone and team up with individuals who we feel comfortable to work with.

Another demerit being, that most researchers have sturdy egos and vital fraction of scientific collaborations break down as a result of incompatible personalities and expectations from group leaders. Conflicts might occur due to disagreements regarding who gets the corresponding authorship at the tip of the ride and who is the principle investigator on the grant. Multidisciplinary research might be run by experts who are competent in their respective disciplines. However proper research requires versatile junior scientists who can bridge the gaps by mobilizing their expertise and skills from totally different fields. These new people have to be trained and this is where the added value of multidisciplinary research really pays off as it produces new scientist with unique skill sets which are crucial in future research and development in terms of career in industry and academia. Multidisciplinary science requires a definite attitude, openness for collaborations and capabilities to line aside ego and share credits, so as to facilitate this institute ought to encourage interaction between completely different disciplines by organizing events where scientists can meet and share ideas in an off-the-cuff setting. As India moves towards becoming a true knowledge society and economy – and seeable of the forthcoming fourth industrial revolution, where India aims to lead and where an increasing proportion of employment opportunities can accommodate consummate jobs of an imaginative and multidisciplinary nature. With respect to this, the psychology departments in universities should have shut ties with many other departments on field such as biology, law, medicine, law and business and may aim to increase participation in varied interdisciplinary programs on campus.

On the other hand many institutions that educate hundreds and even thousands of students do not include any courses in Social Sciences. Some colleges for instance offer Bachelor courses in Business, commerce and administration. But there is not a single course in Sociology, Literature and Psychology. If these institutions are encouraged to facilitate courses in Arts and Humanities, then there will be more students to be accommodated in these colleges. A vision to establish ‘Multidisciplinary’ HEIs, Universities and colleges will need to establish more Psychology faculties so that more students will be trained in teaching of Psychology. The vision of Type 1, 2, 3 institutions with hundreds and thousands of students will definitely widen the scope for Psychology with the need for more Student counselors, who can be appointed to help the students in their times of crisis. If more and more students are required to be trained in Psychotherapy and counseling, more institutes will recruit more number of Psychology Faculties opening opportunities for employment

But there is dearth of institutes providing courses in psychology notably in north-east region of India with growing number of students further establishment of institutions are needed so as to pursue higher education with diverse specialization. It is not acknowledged what percent or what number schools, colleges and universities offer psychology courses and how many psychologists are professionally active. There don’t seem to be any data that official agencies, just like the University Grants Commission, Indian Council of Social Science Research, or Department of Science and Technology can furnish. Policy makers ought to target on increasing number of government or central universities with psychology as a subject for bachelor degree, master degree, M.Phil (RCI registered)/PhD and may concentrate on introducing many other specializations aside from clinical /social psychology/industrial psychology/ counseling psychology.

There is slow and gradual increase in problem oriented and culture sensitive research carried out by a small minority of front runners who are constrained by the lack of intellectual and professional support, infra-structure deficiencies (decline in library facilities due to prices of books and journals, exchange rates, electric based information is not reaching properly in most Institutions), and inadequate financial and human resources. Together they cause daily hassles which hardly leave any energy in many for sustained research of high standard. The roots of these impedients to four major predisposing factors: Pervasive poverty, excessive political interference and government control, poor Infrastructures and social values and practices in India.

The new policy of the government together with the awareness of Indian psychologists of the social demands and their roles, it’s hoped, seemingly to create a conducive condition for faster growth of proper psychology in India.

Fundamental objective being refurbishing the higher education system, thereby creating world class multidisciplinary higher education institutions across the country – increase GER to a minimum of 50% by 2035. While addressing of higher education, the government is planning to bring in a single regulator – National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA). With this initiative, all higher educational institutions will become multi-disciplinary and might be able to facilitate high-quality teaching, research, and service to the learners. In Masters, extra focus would now be given on research as currently in Indian universities the courses lack research-oriented curriculum. Doing so might nurture the research skills of students and exempt them from pursuing M.Phil course. The educational policy would emphasize more on research, further allowing private institutes to have access to Government fund but does not address the tax treatment of educational services. NRF can make sure that the overall research inclination in the country is strengthened with focus on identified core relevant areas imperative to our national priorities and towards basic science without duplication of effort and expenditure. The incentive for the private sector to invest, grow and stand on quality parameters has to be clearly enunciated.

Gross enrollment can be possible if they work towards increasing employment opportunities and make education accessible to the masses as envisioned in the constitution that would make India democratic, just and socially conscious, self aware, cultured humane nation (equality, fraternity, justice, liberty) serve as a hub for developing ideas innovation that enlighten individuals and propel country forward socially, culturally, artistically, scientifically, technologically and economically. Compulsory liberal arts training will help India double the number of entrants in higher education_ GER_ from current 25.8to 50%, in next one –and –a –half decades. But contrary to established policy wisdom, it suggest a route to this expansion in a large scale merger of colleges and universities in the country – bringing down the total number of higher educational institutions from around 50,000 at present to maximum of 12,300 over the next two decades. It then assumes an impossible uniformity of local social condition across institutional contexts and predicts a doubling of student intake by quartering the number of institutions. Already the number of institutions offering psychology is handful and compressing the number of institutes would adversely affect the enrollment of students in this discipline.

  • Students will be given some degree of flexibility in deciding which courses to take in order to satisfy the requirements for the major and minor. (P.11.1.1)

By encouraging students in choosing a minor course in a subject of their choice as a minor subject can influence them to choose a course in any of the streams in Psychology. This is a practice at Harvard. When students were given a choice to choose a subject of their choice, a number of students choose to do a course in ‘Positive Psychology’. If NEP’s vision is to be actualized, increasing number of students will take up courses in various discipline in Psychology like Positive Psychology, Counseling Psychology and other streams in Psychology. Thus increasing the recognition of the discipline which otherwise is often misunderstood that Psychology only deal with study of mental disorders.

  • Part 2 chapter 9 of higher education states its vision of improving the quality of higher education.

In view of the prerequisite of the 21st century, the aim of a top quality university or college education must be to develop sensible, well rounded, and inventive people. It should facilitate an individual to check one or addiitonal specialized areas of interest (clinical psychology/cognitive psychology/Legal psychology/ Forensic psychology/social psychology /animal psychology etc ) at a deeper level, meanwhile building character, ethical and Constitutional values, intellectual curiosity, spirit of service, and 21st century capabilities across a variety of disciplines including the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, likewise as skilled, technical, and line crafts (Psychotherapy training courses).

Psychology subject should be tweaked for Indian context. Revision of psychology syllabus will be a step within the direction of making a activity between Indian social reality and current disciplinary developments. There are variations in existing psychology courses across universities as regards the coverage of issues, content, cultural sensibility likewise as social group connection. The requirement to revamp is felt by most academicians and practitioners. Restructuring of the curriculum is a continuous process and every university is meant to undertake this exercise. Efforts should be created to induce inputs from the faculty. The Bachelor, Master’s, MPhil and PhD courses must be drafted, debated and finalized for psychology discipline.

In most universities psychotherapy as a part of the clinical psychology syllabus remains neglected since it lacks sensible exposure of the technicalities concerned within the therapeutic procedures that there is a dearth of well trained psychotherapist and counselors who practice illegally without any practicing license (a compulsion should be made for clinicians to practice only with RCI registration, not without it).

The social science disciplines in conjunction with psychological science were introduced in India as a Euro-American import. The theories downside, and problems were borrowed from a special context. Most prevailing courses facilitate to seek out plenty concerning the cultural practices, norms and nuances of the western world, but human conduct has cultural roots. The truth veteran in [our] society is mapped with theassistance of alien ideas as a result of the western world that has been the indicator. In addition to being misleading, this has resulted in emulation, loss of creative thinking and poor contribution to the growth of knowledge.

In the years to come, the necessity to bring the cultural context to the center ought be repeatedly stressed in educational discourse. Universities ought to give separate courses in cross cultural psychology, cultural psychology and indigenous psychology. There is a stress on the use of Indian material and culturally-contextualized learning. Several international academic movements have started towards indigenization of the discipline. There is growing scholarship specializing in culture-specific disciplinary developments. Japan, China, and South Korea – each country has its own notions of self, society and family and scholarship supported them. Philippines saw a movement to work out indigenous theories and practices. Even many Canadian psychologists do not accept American theories. The debates over these issues form a real academic concern which the policy makers need to address.

  • Reaffirming the integrity of faculty positions and institutional leadership through merit based appointments and career management. (P. 9. 5).

It is encouraging to notice that the NEP approves to evaluate and appoint the faculty members of any department, purely on merit basis, not on basis of their background or considered in terms of their seniority. The students who join in Psychology at their post-graduate level, graduate level and even pre-university level will develop appropriate skills in the field of Psychology, if the discipline is taught by skilled professionals.

  • National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established to grant competitive funding for outstanding research proposals for all disciplines (P. 9.6)

Knowledge is generated and circulated through Research. There is a great dearth of research in the field of psychology in Indian context. If researchers are funded in the field of Psychology just as researcher in other fields are funded, it will encourage more scholars to invest time and their energy into research. Since any good research is time consuming and requires painstaking endeavor, financial support to the researcher is essential. If those researchers in the field of Psychology are encouraged through funding and various grants, more can be contributed to the world of knowledge through research. Heavy teaching and no incentive for research had a telling effect on the research output of some universities which must be addressed practically.

  • All doctoral students will take a one-semester course/seminar on teaching – both the general aspects of good pedagogy as well as aspect more specialized to their specific subject. (P11. 2. 2. 1).

It is imperative that scholars with doctorate degrees to undergo some basic training in pedagogy, helping them to improve their skills of teaching and master the art of teaching. It is not enough that all those who teach Psychology be Doctorate holders, but also good teachers with sound training in teaching methods to foster the passion for Psychology among students. Doing this, a scholar will both increase the motivation among the student for Psychology by being both scholar and teachers at the same time. It is very important for a scholar to be a good teacher. If a scholar is a good teacher he/she will multiply the desire for knowledge in psychology.

  • The development of capacities that promote student wellness – such as good health, psycho-social well-being and sound ethical grounding – are also necessary for high quality learning…Often, higher education represents the first time in students’ lives when they are living and working independently, and the resulting stress and pleasures of students can sometimes form a serious threat to wellness. (Chapter 12. Introduction).

It is undisputed that the students’ psychological well-being and emotional growth is fostered though professional counseling and psychotherapy. It is not enough that educational instructions peruse only the academic excellence of their student, but institutions should help the students for their psychological and emotions health for those who are in need of it. As the NEP acknowledges, every institute will employ full time counselors to help the students who can approach. In addition to that the presentations need to be done in colleges about the removal of the stigma behind getting psychological help.

  • Facilities for medical care, counseling services, therapy, and treatment in cases of illness or distress will be made available. (P.12.2.3).

In addition to medical care that is already in practice, many institutions have been employing more Counsellors and Psychotherapist. When this practice becomes mandatory and is buttressed by NEP, there will be more students enrolling for training in Psychology and Counselling encouraged by the job opportunities that will be created.

Financial assistance to students who need such financial support shall be made available. No student will be deprived of higher education because of financial inability. (P.12.2.4)

Like every department, funds are an essential part in maintenance and growth of the department. By providing financial assistance to students, no student will have to be prevented from training in Psychology because of lack of finances. This will financial bolster will increase in the number of admissions in the field of Psychology at UG, PG levels and even in the Research levels.

  • All affiliating universities will transition to a Type 1 or 2 institution, with one or more campuses. Universities will have no affiliated colleges. (P.10.14.a).

The idea of ‘graded autonomy’ introduced by UGC in 2018_ and insistence on hierarchy of ‘institutional performance’ through ranking or rating _ has been veted by the draft. The tiering of HEI’s into TYPE 1(research universities) TYPE 2 (undergraduate colleges) can end in completely different fortunes for various institutional settings. TYPE 3 institutions are largest in number, the projected increase in their share of public funding is disproportionately lower than the two other types.

With resolutions like a congent increase in public expenditure on education and delegation of ‘autonomy’, the draft appears assuring however additionally glosses over several issues. Demising on creating ‘interconnectedness of education’ and also the recognition conceded to liberal arts discipline, which the report itself identifies as education which combines art, music, language, orality, ethical and moral reasoning, constitutional values, socio-emotional learning, and health and safety is to be acknowledged, and indicates that the committee has attempted to go beyond seeing education as hardly instrumentalist transaction. Incentives for private sector to invest grow and stand on quality parameters need to be clearly articulated. The draft lacks operational details and does not supply insight into how the policy will be funded. 


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