Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said the era of forcing anything on the youth without understanding them and their aspirations has long gone.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Samagam, a three-day convention of over 400 academic experts and educationists to discuss the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020), in Varanasi.
Modi’s remarks come in the wake of protests against the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme for the country’s armed forces.
Modi said that earlier schools, colleges and books decided in which direction students need to move ahead. “But with the introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020), our responsibility towards our youths has increased. Our responsibility too has increased. We need to constantly motivate youths about their dreams and understand their mind and their aspirations. The era of forcing anything on them without understanding them has gone),” the PM said.
Speaking about NEP-2020, the PM said its basic purpose is “to take education out of narrow thinking and connect it with the modern ideas of the 21st century”.
“There was never a dearth of intellect and talent in our country. However, the education system created by the Britishers was never a part of the Indian ethos,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the entire focus of the new education policy is to make children skilled as per their talents and their choices. “Our youths should be skilled, confident, practical and calculative. The new education policy is preparing the ground for this,” he said.
He emphasised on the need to work for the future with a “new thought process”. “Children today are displaying a very advanced degree of talent and we need to be prepared to help and harness their talent,” Modi said.
The PM lauded the efforts that went into the preparation of the NEP. He, however, asserted that the momentum should not get slow.
“We have kept the national education policy alive. In such a short time, I have personally attended more than 25 seminars to talk about the implementation of the policy. The entire government is making efforts,” the PM said and asked the gathering of academicians to plan discussions on it in their respective universities too.
Claiming that India can emerge as a big destination for global education, the PM said that guidelines have been issued to prepare Indian higher education as per the global standards.
Speaking about the agriculture universities, Modi emphasised on the importance of practical experience and fieldwork and sought for a roadmap for “lab to land”. The PM also asked academicians to focus on evidence-based research, especially on the demographic dividend of India and thereby find ways to best utilise it for the ageing societies of the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said Uttar Pradesh has implemented the NEP policy at the graduation level. “The NEP has created opportunities to receive knowledge from all directions,” the CM added.
The Ministry of Education is organising the Shiksha Samagam to provide a platform for eminent academicians, policymakers and academic leaders to deliberate and share their experiences and discuss the roadmap for effective implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
Earlier in the day, Modi inaugurated the Akshaya Patra kitchen at the L T College in Varanasi that will cater to around 150 government schools and has the capacity of cooking mid-day meals for around one lakh students.