NIAS Wednesday Discussion - Dr. Viraj Kumar will speak on “Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education in NEP 2020: Why and How?”

NIAS Wednesday Discussion 

Topic:              “Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education in NEP 2020: Why and How?” 


Speaker:          Viraj Kumar

Adjunct Faculty, NIAS     


Chairperson:    Shalini Dixit

                        Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, NIAS  


Date:               27th October 2021 


Time:               4.00 PM 


Venue:             Lecture Hall, NIAS  


All are cordially invited



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Abstract: The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) identifies ten “major problems currently faced by the higher education system in India” (Para 9.2, Page 33). In response to one of these problems – a rigid separation of disciplines, with early specialisation and streaming of students into narrow areas of study – the Policy states that all higher education institutions “shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions ... by 2030” (Para 10.7, Page 35), and that “a holistic education shall be, in the long term, the approach of all undergraduate programmes, including those in professional, technical, and vocational disciplines” (Para 11.3, Page 36). This talk thus seeks to initiate conversations centred around two questions: 


(1) Why is such an urgent shift towards holistic and multidisciplinary education justified? We will examine three principal arguments discussed by the Kasturirangan Committee, which drafted NEP 2020. 


2) How will such a shift be accomplished? We will sketch one model for transitioning from a unidisciplinary to a holistic and multidisciplinary programme, and we will highlight key challenges in implementing such a transition. 


Successful transitions are more likely in institutions where these questions have been thoroughly debated. This talk seeks to spur such debates, from which appropriately contextualised transition models must emerge. 


About the speaker: Dr Viraj Kumar is a faculty at the Dayananda Sagar University and Adjunct Faculty at NIAS. His primary research interests are in Computer Science Education – he chairs ACM India’s Education Committee and is a member of the ACM India Council – and in Educational Technology – he provided inputs on EdTech to the Kasturirangan Committee to draft NEP 2020 as a member of its Technical Secretariat. After completing his doctorate in Computer Science from UIUC, Dr Kumar taught at Holy Cross, a liberal arts college and at the UIUC, a research university, both in the US. Over the past decade, he has held academic positions in India at both private universities outside the top-tier, including NIIT University, PES University, and Dayananda Sagar University, as well as in a public top-tier institution, IISc. He is a member of the Governing Council of MVJ College of Engineering and the Atria University Academic Council, and serves on the Steering Committee of IIIT Delhi’s Programme for Faculty in Computer Science Education. 

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For further info, please contact Prof Anindya Sinha [  or] or Shri K S Rama Krishna [], Coordinators of the NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021