We do not have to just issue circular to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP). For this, we will have to show will power and be prepared for it. Stakeholders will have to treat it as ‘Mahayagya’ to change the present and future of the country,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inaugural address at a conclave on ‘Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under National Education Policy’ today. The NEP that replaces India’s 34-year-old education policy was approved by the Cabinet at a meeting presided by PM Modi.
Modi dwelt on the much-debated aspects of the policy, including the mode of instruction in schools to the autonomy status given to the higher education institutes.
Here are the major takeaways from Modi’s speech:
- While the three-language rule under the NEP has been a matter of debate for long, the final policy dropped Hindi among the three languages prescribed to be taught under NEP and recommends teaching in mother tongue till at least class 5. Commenting on it, the PM said, “We need to make our students into global citizens who are rooted in their culture. The learning ability of students will improve if the language they speak at home and the language in which lessons are taught in school is the same. Thus, the NEP recommends teaching in the mother tongue until as long as possible or at least till class 5. This will strengthen the foundation of students.”
- Another issue up for debate is the autonomy given to higher education institutes. Highlighting the issue, Modi said: “There are two schools of thought when it comes to autonomy. One says that the government should overlook the functioning, the other demands more freedom. While the first can be criticised for being biased towards government-run institutes, the other treats autonomy as an entitlement. The road to quality-education goes through the middle of the two ways.” He added that under NEP institutes which work more on quality education will be given more freedom. This said the PM will encourage the institutes to work better and will also work as an incentive for good performance.
- PM Modi said the NEP encourages the culture of healthy debate. He emphasised on implementation of the policy and asked colleges and universities to hold virtual conferences to ensure that NEP reaches the individual at the farthest corner. Modi also congratulated the former ISRO chief, K Kasturirangan, former ISRO chief for heading the committee which drafted the policy. The policy, said the PM, will be the foundation of the new India.
- PM Modi said the NEP not only pulls India out from “herd mentality” which pushed students to become engineers, doctors, lawyers, to focusing on innovation, curiosity, critical thinking but also emphasizes teacher training. ” I believe, when a teacher learns, the national leads.”
The conclave will have addressed from vice-chancellors of prominent universities, members of NGOs, and other stakeholders who will discuss about the implementation of the policy.