The progress and success quo of a country depends on the ASK- Attitude, Knowledge and Skill of its human resource. Trans- times, trans- cultures, trans- civilizations and trans- nations, a country is what its citizens are. With human capital being the biggest asset, the role of education is to optimise its potential and channelise its output for the larger good of humanity.
Sovereign India’s 3rd National Education Policy, announced after a wait of 34 years, catalogues a radical facelift of the country’s existing education system by opening up the playfield for learners’ linear as well as horizontal progress along the curricula.
This 21st century flexi- possibility system strewn with multi-disciplinary, multi- lingual and multi- effectual syllabi envisions to accommodate the pursuits of vocational and non-vocational subjects right from Early Childhood Education. A clear inscription of student-centric approach that crochets critical thinking, enquirybased, discussion and discovery-driven, research and analysis inspired holistic approach to learning is evidently tiled upon the findings of neurosciences viz multiple intelligences, varied learning styles and socio-psychological versatility.
By and large, the final depiction and manifesto of NEP 2020 quite bravely streamlines the ambits of pre-school, formal schooling and higher education. Embracing the local languages, creating dedicated spaces to upskill faculty, accommodating multiple entry points in mainstream education and accommodating a heretofore unimagined budget of 6% of country’s GDP for National Research Foundation, says it all about the enormous macro vision and the minute microscopic detailing put into the entire assembling.
The Committee to shape the New Education Policy being headed by the great space scientist Padma Vibhushan K. Kasturirangan, was itself a reason to be hopeful. Those of us in the education fields were already excited and sure that the mind that opened the frontiers of space for India, would for sure, recreate his record and explore new frontiers of knowledge and learning for children of India. And, here came the unveiling of a unique, creative, innovative, logical and systematic system of training and preparing minds with global vision.
With the increaded grant of empowerment and autonomy to the stakeholders, National Education Policy, has especially kindled a streak of joy in the clan of young edupreneurs like who had ventured into the education sector with a heart pumping with passion and a vision resolute to contribute to the upscaling of prevalent systems and the realignment of cliched pedagogies. My happiness is simply over-brimming on seeing the limelight turning towards a holistic education system and self- sufficiency of learners as well as country at large.
The prime focus of any progressive country is to nurture and optimise the potential of its human capital to make them future ready and adaptable. We are the largest market for the entire world beside having the potential to become absolutely Aatmnirbhar. In a country like India where 50 % of its total population is aged below 25 years, the biggest responsibility of a creditable education system is to nurture the learners with core values and cultural legacies, to sensitise them for communal and environmental responsibilities, besides equipping them with a world of opportunities in terms of employment as well as empowerment, so that they do not just avail but also create a confluence of new era opportunities.
A quick dive into the New Education Policy gives a feeling that it aims at answering a lot of questions that needed a strong framework. The 5+3+3+4 formula is a welcome step in the direction of ‘catching them young’ in fact, in the most impressionable and influenceable age.
Structuring primary education and keeping the first formal assessments at entry to grade 3 would be a potent catalyst to turn the focus on skill building in the formative years rather than assessments. Through identification of latent aptitude and introduction of vocational training in the middle school, education will surely ingrain the much-needed life skills and dignity of labour. The renewed emphasis on local languages and mother tongue with the option of choosing English medium is an equitable approach which can iron out the ebb of marginalised Indian languages while staying synced with the global lingua franca.
Introduction of the semester system with a varied choice of subject combinations teamed with emphasis on skill building will positively impact learning outcome and knowledge application. By and large, the recent reforms in our Higher Education system are a welcome. The eligibility for grant of Basic, Diploma and Graduate degrees based on completion of one, two or three years of an undergraduate course are all in all commendable. It is implicit recognition of a socio-economic situation that often compels the discontinuation of education and now seeks to create an environment where everyone can always get back to formal learning; at their pace and comfort level. The creation of a system for transfer of credits between courses, colleges and universities is a step in the much- yearned for direction.
Ours is a multicoloured country- culturally, lingually and geographically. Having a uniform policy for an inherently diverse nation is of course impractical. The solution to this dichotomy is a broad framework which takes care of the basics and most important needs along with the freedom for need based customisation. The New Education Policy gives us the roadmap for it to a large extent. However, more than the framework and policy it is the intent of implementation that spearheads the difference. A strong belief in the objective and a firm faith in the underlying philosophy is a ‘must have’. Every effort/initiative should be seen as a progressive pathway. Thus, the onus lies on all the stakeholders who would be shouldering the responsibility, henceforth.
A question for the mere sake of questioning or a question for the sake of getting though the tethering makes the matters different. Hence, the need of the hour is to shift the focus from inferences to implementation so as to translate the euphoria and excitement in the team who would be the active agents in making the learners future ready – undoubtedly the teachers along with parents and admirative heads.
For an effective fructification of this long-awaited and much-hailed Education Policy, we all ought to understand the cruciality of our role as educators- a small error and the damage caused would affect an entire generation.
According to the authenticated reflections and revelations of the PISA report and ASER 2020 the most surfacing concern of contemporary industry is that a major chunk of the workforce is either unemployable or unemployed which further leads to a rise in crime rate, erosion of values and lack of basic life skills and soft skills in the youth. Besides this, barricading the country’s brain drain has been a torrential struggle in the past few decades. The answer to this is a robust education system that focuses on skills and promises an effective placement mechanism while taking full rounded accountability of shaping well informed, value driven and responsible citizens who “not only follow but also contribute” to the progress.
This entire scenario as a cohesive sum is enough of a reason to embrace NEP 2020 with a worthy intent and willingness.
For a country like India any reform is the need of the hour; we have to begin from somewhere, “To win the race, we must first start”. The trust between the school and parents is the bottom line. The distorted perception about private schools that has been built by some pseudo activists due to their evidently hideous agenda needs to be analysed inside out. Private Schools which have on their rolls 50 percent of the country’s total student population need to be glanced with acclaim; undermining their role will be under-cultivating the youth’s potential/ their role cannot be undermined.
Instead of treating schools as soft targets and exploiting any chance incidents to devastating lengths such as meting out painful orders to please the masses the very purpose of education should be given the due regard. The educational institutions should be spared from so much litigation and control and compliances. In the squabble of media hype and the adversely affected parental attitude, the biggest loser turns out to be the child. Exposed to conflicting opinions, the child loses respect for school and teachers; and when reverence is lost no learning can happen. When the time that should be invested in educating the child goes in trouble shooting and indulgence in useless unproductive work the progress of the child viz the country’s future is hampered. Solution is the coordinated efforts from policy makers and enforcement agencies whose purpose is to help rather than shirk away from their responsibilities.
India needs intent and collaborative efforts from all the stakeholders to aid the new policy’s ruling reaching out the zenith. The spirit in which it is implemented will solve many problems and phenomnialize the outcome.
The onus of successful implementation lies on the real stakeholders, the executioners more than the policy designers. So, with a 360 degree turn, the ground seems to have been tilled to make India relive her glory and bring the renaissance of Takshila and Nalanda by turning into a 21st century Global Study Destination.