NEP 2020

An analysis of the National Educational Policy formulated by the Union Cabinet.

The pace at which the world is advancing is simply magnificent, promising a totally different way of human lifestyle within the next 30 odd years. Showing even promises of human life on a second planet, to cater to the present needs. 

This paves the need to adapt to such changes. To be a catalyst, rather than a fly on the windshield in the process.

The rapid advancements in most sectors aided by technology has only the human element slogging it in most developing and underdeveloped nations. But most developed nations showing promises of being able to provide to such changes, make them stand out as model nations.

It’s quite ironic, Us, humans, slowing down the process of advancements; the very reason behind such advancements and the very factor slowing it down.

Modern problems do require modern solutions. 

A brief analysis of the incompetency of ours, shows traces of troubleshooting in the education system. 

To quote the father of the nation would be the ideal solution to the current crisis. The Mahatma had signified the importance of education in the pre-independence era and post too; the relevance of it, in the present century shows evidence of where we’ve fell short in our rat race. His overviews require praise for looking out like a true father.

The importance of education in the thoughts of people and society is quite significant and needs no more emphasis. But still the turn over is indeed minimal.

It’s more of a necessity than a luxury, in the pursuit of overall development as an individual and the development of the nation. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The Union Cabinet by the end of the last month announced a New policy governing the education system in India. Promising overhaul changes both in the school and higher education system, to cater to the needs  of the twenty first century. 

A change much needed to be precise.

It’s still a policy and not a law, as the Union has the mammoth task of passing it, as after all India is a federal state and education being a subject on the concurrent list, requires forward of all the states and Union Territories.

Rather than beating around the bush more, I’ll get to the point of emphasises on the highly ambitious New Education Policy, which was formulated only after a whopping gap of 34 years.

The National policy on education was last formulated in 1986 and modified in 1992. It took the nation more than a few decades to propose a change in one of the most important sectors.

The National Education Policy proposes radical changes to the educational system of India. The norms of the policy even makes it sound ‘too good to be true’, with the promise of implementing all the proposed, heavily criticised policy by 2040.

However, most proposed comprehensive changes like completely redefining the age-old school curriculum structure of 10+2 into a structure of 5+3+3+4 has been received well.

The new school structure puts emphasis on formative education via early childhood education with an overview to implement absolute literacy and numeracy education(ability to understand basic terms and do basic calculations) by the end of the second grade.

The reports of low literacy and numeracy rates among students of elementary schools had pushed the policy formulators towards universal implementation by 2025.

The need of ensuring proper nutrition and health of students have also been targeted, with the implementation of mandatory breakfasts and midday meals in schools.

With a strive to impart quality education, the pupil-teacher ratio has been set at 30:1 and a lesser ratio for socially backward areas with a view to eradicate the socio-economic differences.

As a step in the right direction, provisions for vocational education and internships from grade 6th with a restructuring of the curriculum to inculcate critical thinking and inquiry based, discovery based learning has also been put forward.

The need for education via mother tongue till grade five has received much friction from all sides. The often negligence of regional languages and mother tongue had made the Union consider it. 

Experts from the educational field has however resented such a decision hinting that in a Country like ours with high mobility, there’s a greater need for universal mediums in the education provided in schools. Making the students who’d have to travel for reasons outside their control adversely affected by the same.

The economically constrained sections of the society has also made their voice heard, stating the inadequacy of funds from their sides, would put their children at a disadvantage compared to the children of well off families, who could afford multiple tuitions to learn English.  (Sighting the universal application)

A crown jewel in the policy, is the widened scope of universal education from transforming the 6-14 years to 3-18 years of students, while incorporating further lifelong learning habits.

The policy of a multi-disciplinary approach in higher education is also mentioned, but a foolproof framework is what it lacks, as of now.

The policy also incorporates aspirational moves towards doing away with the need for coaching class trends for higher education and to reduce the hysteria towards private english medium schools by bridging the adversities faced by the public schools.

With regards to higher education, the union focuses on allowing prestigious foreign universities to set up shop in the country and to also to aid the setting up of glamorous Indian higher education institutions in other countries. But the policy fails to make promises to further expand the number of premium institutions like IIT’s on Indian soils.

Even though the experts have welcomed most policy reforms with both hands, they’ve also presented their fair share of doubts regarding the implementation of the nuances of the policy, sighting the lack of political will towards public education and fiscal burden upon the government.

The suggestion of educational expenditure to be bumped upto 6% of GDP has been doing the rounds and has been neglected by consecutive governments. The economic slowdown caused by the pandemic also raises further doubts of the finances, also considering the surge in health and defence sector expenditures in the following years.

The policy on paper encourages the need for critical thinking, holistic learning and increase of campus activities. However, the attacks on free and critical thinkers on campuses in the recent past, raises obvious red flags.

Sighting the surge in the number of educated unemployeds and the mishap regarding the imparting of appropriate skillsets to match the employment opportunities, overhaul have been suggested regarding the formulation of 4 year undergrads shows great promise and putting an end to MPhil programs. The union also aims to restrict the functions of the UGC.

Even though the overall policy has the potential to transform the nation into a status of a powerhouse of knowledge, subsequent formulation of clear and foolproof plans which wouldn’t aggrieve any promises of tomorrow would be the ideal path to tread upon.