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Modi Government Education Report Card: Dr C Raj Kumar

EducationWorld March 2024 | Cover Story EducationWorld

In this General Election-eve story, we assess the track record of the Modi government — the first non-Congress government to have completed ten years in office in independent India — in early childhood, primary-secondary, skilling and higher education writes Summiya Yasmeen

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi: eventful decade for Indian education

NEP 2020 a pathbreaking landmark …

A polymath alumnus of Madras, Delhi, Hong Kong, Oxford and Harvard universities, Dr. C. Raj Kumar is founding vice chancellor of the private top-ranked O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana (JGU, estb.2009).

Are you satisfied with the education record of the past 10 years of the BJP government?
India faces a historic opportunity with an advantageous demographic dividend — 70 percent of its population is below the age of 35. To empower these 1 billion young Indians, the government has focussed on improving access and quality of education. NEP 2020 is a transformative step in this direction. PM Modi’s call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Viksit Bharat@2047’ are direct calls for strengthening India’s higher education landscape and building world-class universities.

Raj KumarWhat are the biggest education achievements and failures of the BJP government?
NEP 2020 will go down as a pathbreaking landmark in the annals of Indian higher education. The policy will re-energise the education system by giving impetus to multidisciplinary and liberal education, research, academic freedom, institutional autonomy and regulatory reforms. But time bound implementation of NEP 2020 is critical for attaining its laudable objectives.

What should be the Top 3 education priorities of the new post-2024 government?
NEP implementation. This powerful policy document has the power to propel the dream of Viksit Bharat@2047. But its implementation requires the highest degree of operational governance. Moreover there’s urgent need to create new institutional mechanisms with active participation of all key stakeholders.
Build research-oriented higher education institutions. In the emerging knowledge economy, India needs to build and nourish a research ecosystem to address complex problems of society and embrace technological progress.
Confer greater autonomy to higher education institutions (HEIs). A continuing concern to HEIs is over-regulation by overlapping regulatory bodies. It’s important to reimagine and restructure the entire regulatory framework to provide greater autonomy to HEIs.

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