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The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 document has been widely applauded by all sections of the intelligentsia. The main emphasis of NEP-2020 is to bring in: “quality in education,” unlike the previous policies that focussed on “access and equity”. The changes made in this new policy, need a deliberation. There is ample scope for the high aspirations to the “quality in education” to be fulfilled through this NEP-2020 policy that envisages syllabus reduction i.e. “Reduction in curriculum to core concepts.”
For years there has been a kind of ‘a priori’ syllabus, designed by the textbook writers (in all subjects, especially in the state government-run schools) that has to be completed faithfully during the academic year, and has taken a toll on creative activities within the class. This kind of loaded syllabus and obsessive concerns over its completion, never did give scope to the teacher to tap the creative/critical/innovative thinking talents of students.
The main emphasis of NEP-2020 is to bring in: “quality in education,” unlike the previous policies that focussed on “access and equity”.
The main drawback all through primary education has been to follow the method of by-hearting answers related to the textbook that would, in any case, appear in examination rather than paying attention to understanding the core concepts and applying them into day-to-day life situations.
It has been an established belief in the learning process that repetition reinforces what is learnt and committed to memory, for a student to answer in the test. This behaviourist pedagogical model has often led to children resorting to rote-memory. It is not that a teacher doesn’t know the lacunae in this method but the burden of overpopulation in classrooms and also constraints on the syllabus have hampered creative activities.
Now that these compulsions have been reduced, with policy measures of “less content, and more towards learning about how to think critically and solve problems, how to be creative and multidisciplinary”, the cognitive brain of the learner, could be tapped. Further progress in that direction could be achieved by the Policy directive of: “engagement of social workers, alumni, volunteers with schools, school complexes/clusters for resource sharing”.
The bigger benefit when a learner uses his cognitive brain is that he/she develops his/her perception and insight. This way, when a student encounters a new situation (be it in studies or real life), he/she recognises it as a ‘problem’ to be solved, then goes on to analyse, compare, plan and test the plan. If the latter doesn’t work, the student abandons it and evolves another plan, if that works, he/she stores it for further application. As of today, the scope for this ‘problem-solving ‘method is very limited in the classroom. So, the NEP-2020 paves the way for student-centric learning. Accordingly, the Policy modified the board examinations to primarily test core capacities, competencies, rather than hardened coaching and memorisation.
As the teacher needs to be resourceful to engage students in the new methods, the NEP-2020 enshrines a provision in its policy for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs, to equip educators.
For any learning to take place, the teacher is the facilitator. As the teacher needs to be resourceful to engage students in the new methods, the NEP-2020 enshrines a provision in its policy for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs, to equip educators. Recently, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in the new educational policy’s (NEP-2020) inaugural conclave stated: “We need to develop critical and innovative thinking” in students. Though this applies in general to all students, this has to be nurtured right from school education. Since the structure of curricula is replaced by a 5+3+3+4; Anganwadis also have a great role to play in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). So, therefore, specially trained teachers in the curriculum and pedagogy are needed.
Vocational education is an important step in NEP-2020 policy measures. To promote vocational education from the middle stage, by encouraging 10-days bagels internship with local traders/craftsperson, exposes students to look for different avenues. David Graddol, a British applied linguist, writer and researcher, writes in his book ‘English Next India’, “Vocational education has long been a Cinderella in a world in which academic study is more highly valued, …For centuries, Indian craftspeople and artisans have created great architecture and art. But these people acquired their skills mainly informally, and children today are still often born into their future occupations. This has made it difficult to expand skilled trades quickly in India and to regulate them in the ways required by modernity.”
It is generally opined that partly, unemployment in the country arises out of the lack of promotion of vocational courses. The NEP-2020 policy is promoting ITIs and B.Voc degrees that fill the divide between vocational and academic. After all, society needs skilled-workmen. In any case, their activity is remunerative and rewarding. Their social status could also get uplifted if they are skilled professionally through their education and degrees.
The NEP-2020 policy is promoting ITIs and B.Voc degrees that fill the divide between vocational and academic. After all, society needs skilled-workmen.
Promotion of Multilingualism is a welcome disposition of the NEP-2020. India is a home to many languages and scripts. Sanskrit is the source and has nourished almost all regional tongues except for north-east region’s Tibeto-Burman vernaculars. Unlike in Japan; Japanese, in Russia; Russian, in Germany German, Indians speak as many languages as they would like to learn. Multilingualism is India’s strength. People should respect all languages. Coming to the directive about using mother tongue/local language/regional language at least up to grade 5, as the main medium of instruction, it has not caused adverse reactions as “wherever possible” is added in the Policy.
To attain foundational literacy and numeracy, as an urgent necessity in the country, the mother tongue/local language is the best vehicle. That fast cognitive development of a child is only possible in his mother tongue, is indisputable. When children learn their mother tongue, they also imbibe their culture. ‘Whatever is in the child’s genes, it gets stabilized’, according to researchers.
Since, education falls under the concurrent list as per the Constitution; the state governments may take a call on the choice of the medium of instruction. Though the use of the mother tongue/local language medium up to class-v would bring genuine educational improvement amongst children.
To attain foundational literacy and numeracy, as an urgent necessity in the country, the mother tongue/local language is the best vehicle.
All in all, NEP-2020 is a policy for radical reform in the Indian educational systems. There are also a number of laudable steps taken with regard to higher education in NEP-2020. The main concern is that it has to be integrated with the designed objectives to achieve the goals-set in the Policy. This NEP-2020 has to be taken up in mission-mode, as it was in the USSR soon after the Russian-Revolution, by canvassing, implementing and assessing the progress made on every anniversary of the Republic. Very quickly the country became a science and technology leader. India needs to make such rapid strides in education if it is to become a superpower.