Multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary learning is a “whole” or “comprehensive” method that covers an idea, topic, or text by integrating multiple knowledge domains. It is a very powerful method of teaching that crosses the boundaries of discipline or curriculum in order to enhance the scope and depth of learning. On the other hand, the multidisciplinary approach means the people from different disciplines working together, solving the problems, thinking for the betterment and development of the organization by using their skills of expertise together or in a team. Multidisciplinary colleges help you to reach and accomplish that very goal. why do we need these types of colleges in India? How are they making their place? how are the Multidisciplinary colleges helping the youth? One of the strengths of the multidisciplinary study is that you choose the subjects that you want to study and therefore you become a particular type of expert in your own right.
NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- preschool to secondary. Infrastructure support, innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream, tracking of students and their learning levels, facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes, an association of counsellors or well-trained social workers with schools, open learning for classes3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools, secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses, adult literacy and life-enrichment programs are some of the proposed ways for achieving this. About 2 crores out of school children will be brought back into the mainstream under NEP 2020. NEP 2020 aims to ensure that no child loses any opportunity to learn and excel because of the circumstances of birth or background. Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.
The policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entries and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example, Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years. 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 government’s focus to build large multidisciplinary institutions is a welcome move and will lead to the holistic development of students. We also welcome the move to enable top Indian universities to set up campuses abroad and allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. This will push everyone to raise standards and improve the quality of higher education in the country. Another aspect that is encouraging is the multiple exit options being offered to students and the tying up of vocational education with higher education. This will certainly help improve India’s low Gross Enrolment Ratio. Multidisciplinary colleges also initiate Project-based learning, vocational learning at an early age, and learning of life skills and inclusion of technology will help a child realise ambitions, gain multi-dimensional knowledge and universal skills and lay the foundation for higher education. NEP 2020 has an inclusive and balanced outlook which gives emphasis to arts, culture, creative, STEM Courses, blended, multi-disciplinary and immersive learning and augmenting digital learning. The policy also has a sharp global outlook with an emphasis on 360-degree learning, augmenting life skills and focusing on talent generation. This will give students more exposure to the best global practices in education and enrich their learning experience. The move of re-naming -Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) as Ministry of Education, is an intrinsic part of human development which is very laudable and progressive.
Just like the Interdisciplinary Studies degree, the Multidisciplinary Studies degree is a good option for students who would like to become elementary teachers. However, students can choose a combination of other non-educational disciplines, such as Business/Marketing/Finance. Gone are the days when students had to necessarily major and minor in the same discipline at a university in India. More and more private players are now allowing students to major in one discipline and take up minors in completely different disciplines, giving them the option familiarise themselves with different subjects instead of just one. Experts say offering an interdisciplinary choice of subjects in major and minor specialisations is a positive development. Multidisciplinary colleges are here to prepare students to be future leaders, ready for a challenging and uncertain future job market, and increasingly they need to ensure their graduates are global citizens. Teaching subjects in isolation can narrow a student’s outlook while allowing students to explore across the arts, humanities and sciences can help them to become more rounded, engaged citizens — more flexible, and crucially, more creative.
A multidisciplinary qualification provides you with a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of a range of different subjects and their approaches. You can then apply the skills that you gain from a multidisciplinary qualification to help you to understand connections between different subjects and how to transfer that knowledge across subject boundaries. This approach leads to deeper learning and understanding, and ultimately interdisciplinary thought and understanding, which can be beneficial in many areas of life, including the workplace. It is that building of knowledge that can allow for deeper understanding and highlight the patterns that are common between different subjects.
What makes multidisciplinary students stand out to employers is the rich view of the world that they develop, the wide range of perspectives they will have encountered during their studies, and the combination of subject areas they have studied that could offer more flexible career choices. In fact, many vacancies don’t specify the subject knowledge required for the role; it’s the skills you have developed in your studies as well as your other life experiences that employers are interested in. Studying more than one subject, therefore, helps you to develop important transferable skills, which are continually developing at all stages of life.