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Assam to become ‘laboratory’ for mother tongue-based education in India: Union Minister

On the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in the eight northeastern states, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the policy had “amplified the potential of language in education.”

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: November 20, 2021 10:37:57 pm
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the inaugural session of the two-day North-East Education Conclave in Guwahati. (Photo: Twitter/@himantabiswa)

Assam will become a “laboratory” for local language-based education in India, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Saturday.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day North-East Education Conclave in Guwahati, focused on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in the eight northeastern states, Pradhan said the policy had “amplified the potential of language in education.”

“There are 180 languages spoken by the tribes and communities of Northeast India. The NEP gives importance to all Indian languages. As the gateway to the region, Assam will be a laboratory for mother tongue-based education,” said Pradhan.

The conclave, organised by the department of education, in association with Shankardev Education and Research Foundation (SERF), Guwahati, was also attended by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as the education ministers of the eight northeastern states, among others. Education advisers, heads of state and central universities and academicians from across the country were also present.

Pradhan said the NEP was a “unifier” in celebrating the country’s diversity. He added that the Centre was working on a roadmap to create ‘Special Education Zones’ across the country. “Guwahati, the largest city of Assam, would be one such special education zone,” he said.

Deliberations among the attendees also looked at enrolment trends, outreach initiatives for ethnic students, access to facilities, penetration of centrally-sponsored schemes across the Northeast region.

Speaking at the event, Chief Minister Sarma said he hoped that the conclave would result in finalising a roadmap for the implementation of NEP in the region to “convert the policy into action” and “set timelines to realise the dream of a new India”.

While pointing out the challenges of implementing NEP in a region like the Northeast, he said, “We have 180 languages… the Northeast has a multi-ethnic society. The Centre will have to work closely with the states to develop the implementation framework,” he said.

Sarma also highlighted the progress Assam had made on the NEP, including the constitution of a high level committee, implementation plan for NEP, and steps taken to upgrade five colleges (North Lakhimpur College, Nagaon College, JB College, Sibsagar College and Handique Girls College) to the level of a university.

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