Updated: July 30, 2021 6:24:56 pm
In July 2020, the Union Cabinet launched the National Educational Policy 2020, a visionary project that was long overdue. Reforms have taken place in virtually all areas except the education sector. To bring India at par with developed countries and make it a five trillion dollar economy, the country needs an education system driven by creativity and innovation. NEP 2020 is directed towards that goal.
Any policy designed for about 33 crore students requires careful planning and extensive deliberation. In keeping with cooperative federalism, NEP 2020 was driven by a consultation process that was informed by the imperative to enable innovation. This process involving diverse sections of the country — teachers, parents, students, academicians — helped to get the support of all sections of the society. I had the honour and privilege to have been a part of this journey under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In fact, I received regular inputs and guidance from the prime minister to shape the original document into the current vision document. I am also grateful to K Kasturirangan ji who chaired the committee that drafted the policy.
What makes this policy reform special are the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the uncertainties it has given rise to. It’s creditable that while the world was struggling to deal with the pandemic, India initiated such a far-reaching policy reform. This speaks of the vision of PM Modi.
NEP 2020 is Indian in origin, international in its outlook, inclusive in its approach, and innovative and impactful in its outcome. Access, accountability, affordability, equity and quality are the five pillars that will form the foundation of our future education ecosystem. The objective of this policy is to bring about a change in the entire education system and make it accessible to every student. Its impact will be felt in the country’s villages as well as global arenas. It will help students acquire values as well as knowledge and enable them to study sciences, further research and innovation and acquire skills. It provides for a holistic progress card to replace the report card as the document that records and tracks a student’s academic growth. One-dimensional institutes will give way to multidisciplinary ones, an academic bank of credit will be created and the focus on skill and vocational training will ensure that the education system not only keeps pace with the global standards but also goes a step ahead in producing “Vishv Manav” or global citizens.
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Collaboration of the top performing Indian institutions with the best educational centers in the world will help in the internationalisation of education. “Study in India – Stay in India” will be the new credo of the country’s education system.
The basic framework of the policy is aimed at identifying talent, nurturing it scientifically and providing adequate opportunities for students to achieve their best potential. The Indian knowledge system’s guiding principle of all-round human development will be strengthened by the implementation of the policy.
The amalgamation of talent and technology with world-class research and innovation is bound to pay rich dividends. The gap between industry and academia will be bridged with skill mapping and vocational training at various levels. The country’s linguistic diversity will be an enabling force for the holistic development of the young mind. The emphasis on empowering regional and Indian languages will enable the development of all regions.
The policy has well-defined objectives to develop critical thinking, scientific temper and establishing a link between passion and profession. With its holistic approach and futuristic framework, this policy will lay a strong foundation in making India a global education hub.
This policy was praised not only in India but also internationally including by the UNESCO Director General and the Managing Director, Global Education, of Cambridge University Press. UAE’s minister of education Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi has said that his country intends to implement several of NEP’s recommendations. With the world and an entire generation looking at us, we have a moral responsibility to accelerate the implementation of the policy.
PM Modi has rightly said that “this is not the policy of the government, but the policy of every Indian. This policy will fulfill the aspirations of the youth of the country”.
NEP 2020 will be critical to building a New India. Achieving this national objective will require all stakeholders to come together. A lot of work has been done on the ground in the past one year. Elements of the policy are at various stages of its implementation. I am glad that our new Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ji is helming the implementation of these education reforms with full commitment and determination.
With a visionary national leadership and a nation with a strong will power, the country is blessed with the right circumstances to implement these education reforms to provide better opportunities to our younger generations. Let our young generation become a global asset and a national pride.
(The writer is former Union minister of education)
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