National Education Policy: Transforming Education for a Bright Future

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The New National Education Policy (NNEP-2020) reminds me of the writer Isaac Asimov, who presented us with an imaginative idea of schools of the future. His story, “The Fun They Had,” is set in the year 2157. Similarly, our education system has evolved from Gurukul to digital classrooms. We have transitioned through various phases, from Vedic literature to digital classrooms. A lot has changed since ancient times. In the past, more emphasis was placed on moral values, but now the focus is primarily on scientific inventions and discoveries. We are currently living in the third decade of the 21st century and have witnessed changes such as information and communication technology (ICT) and artificial intelligence (AI). However, the challenge remains to satisfy the thirst for knowledge within our current state of learning outcomes.

What is NEP?

 The National Education Policy (NEP) is a framework aimed at guiding the development of education in India.

When was the first NEP formed? 

The NEP was initially drafted in 1964 and later passed by Parliament in 1968. It was based on the Kothari Commission Report of 1964-66.

National Policy on Education (NPE-1986/92) The previous education policy, reviewed in 1992, focused on the universalization of education. The major change brought about by this policy was the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009, which made free and compulsory education mandatory for all children up to the age of 14, with a focus on reducing dropouts and stagnation. The NPE-1986 resulted in the implementation of Operation Black Board, which aimed to achieve universal access and enrollment.

According to a committee report prepared under the chairmanship of Justice J.S. Verma in 2012, a majority of teacher educators “are not even attempting serious teacher education, but are essentially selling degrees for a price.” These commercial hawks are jeopardizing the future of our nation. Additionally, the scarcity of institutional infrastructure and the non-availability of teachers are also serious concerns for the government.

National Education Policy (NEP-2020) India worked for four years to frame the National Education Policy – NEP 2020. On July 29, 2020, the education system of everyone’s dreams was put on the table. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) was also renamed as the Education Ministry (GOI).

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Main Features of NEP-2020Educational Structure:

 The Right to Education Act (6-14 years) has been replaced by free and compulsory schooling (3-18 years). School will now begin at the early age of 3 years. The 10+2 structure has been replaced by 5+3+3+4, covering different age groups.

Utmost Importance to Mother Tongue: It is believed that children can best understand in their mother tongue. Therefore, all students must be taught in their respective mother tongues up to Class 5.

Multidisciplinary Approach: Previously, arts and science were kept separate, and students had to choose one or the other. Now, students have the flexibility to choose any subject of their personal choice, allowing for interdisciplinary learning.

Credit System: Undergraduate degrees will have multiple exit options, allowing students to switch to another degree without losing credits. The credits would be transferred to the new degree under the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC System).

Adult Education: The policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy by 2030.

Single Higher Authority: The entire higher education system would come under a single umbrella, bringing private and government schools under one single authority.

Increase in Budget: The budget has been increased from   3% to 6%..

Examination Pattern: The examination pattern will undergo changes under the new education policy. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate themselves, and their classmates will also be involved as evaluators. The board exams will be conducted on two occasions during the school year, allowing students to take the main examination and an additional improvement examination if desired.

Benefits

Increased Budget: The NEP 2020 has allocated a higher budget of Rs 4235.74 Crores, resulting in a 12.8% increase in the total education budget. This increased funding will contribute to better infrastructure and other improvements in the education system.

Reduced Exam Phobia: The new syllabus and exam pattern will be designed to be more convenient for students, aiming to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with exams. This change is expected to lead to a decline in cases of exam-related phobia and stress.

Hike in Literacy Rate: The NEP 2020 is projected to have a significant impact on the literacy rate, leading to substantial growth in the upcoming years. The policy’s focus on accessible and quality education is expected to contribute to the overall improvement in literacy rates.

A Relief for Working Women: The policy allows for the admission of children as young as 3 years old, providing working mothers with the freedom from the responsibility of childcare during the day. This change is expected to support working women and enable them to balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.

Coding and Vocational Education: The emphasis on coding at an early age will help develop a potential pool of skilled human resources in the country. This, in turn, is expected to reduce unemployment rates as the workforce becomes equipped with relevant coding and vocational skills.

Drawbacks

Challenges of Mother-tongues: Converting text into multiple native languages without compromising the original meaning and essence of the content could be a challenging task. Additionally, there will be a need for a sufficient number of teachers proficient in various mother-tongues and dialects.

Cyber Divide: The lack of access to the internet and smart gadgets among marginalized and rural students could create a digital divide in society. This divide may limit their educational opportunities and hinder their overall progress.

Neglected English Language: As students learn all subjects in their mother tongue, it may take them longer to develop proficiency in the English language. This could potentially create difficulties for them in learning and communicating in English.

Overall, the NEP 2020 aims to make education accessible to all children in the country, with a focus on quality, inclusivity, and skill development.

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Why do we need Education?

The answer is simple: When a child enters this world, they are a helpless creature with no knowledge or understanding. Through education, they gradually learn and develop the ability to solve problems, become responsible, and adapt to the ever-changing society. Education cultivates maturity and brings about positive changes in an individual, shaping their overall personality. As a result, society progresses and develops. Education is a powerful tool that can break the cycle of poverty and address various social issues.

To utilize any weapon effectively, we must have a better understanding of its features. Therefore, let us delve into the meaning of education in detail.

Meaning of Education: Etymologically, the term “education” has various derivations:Educare: meaning “to bring up” or “to nourish.”

Educere: meaning “to draw out” or “to lead out.”

Educatum: meaning “The act of teaching.” The term education can be synonymous with the term pedagogy, which means “to lead the child.”

Here, it is necessary to mention the definitions put forward by great personalities:M.K. Gandhi: “By education, I mean the all-round drawing out of the best in the child – mind, body, and soul.”

Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal: “Education is the development of every person’s individuality or KHUDI. As an individual develops their powers and capabilities, they become sharpened and well-defined.”

Pestalozzi: “Education is the natural, harmonious, and progressive development of man’s innate powers.”

John Dewey, Father of Education: “Education is life, and life is education.”

The modern father of education, Horace Mann, is credited with significant contributions to the field. Reading his philosophy of education is recommended for a clear understanding of education.

There are mainly two views on the meaning of education: the narrow meaning and the broader meaning. Let us discuss these two views in further detail.

Narrow Meaning of Education: 

In the narrow sense, education is limited to the norms and instructions followed in schools and universities. According to this view, education begins when a child is admitted to an educational institution and ends when they complete their course or leave the institution. Success is determined by examination results, with high grades indicating success and low grades indicating failure. This method of imparting knowledge is confined to classrooms and blackboards, following intentional, pre-planned, and subject-centered approaches. However, it is important to note that this is just a narrow understanding of education.

Broader Meaning of Education:  

In the broader sense, education is a continuous process that starts from birth and continues until death. It encompasses all the experiences gained formally or informally throughout one’s life. In this sense, even an illiterate person who has not received formal education can be considered educated based on the sum total of their life experiences. There are no limitations on when and how one can learn. Experience is the touchstone and foundation of education in this view.

Nature of Education: Some educationalists believe that education is a bipolar process, while others argue it is a tripolar process. Let us consider both perspectives:

Education as a Bipolar Process: In this process, only two elements are needed: the teacher and the pupil. Similar to the magnetic poles, these two poles, the teacher and the pupil, attract each other towards the learning process. Both of them learn from one another. An example of this is evident in the story of class 8, “Nora,” where it was proven that teachers learn from their students as well.

Education as a Tripolar Process: Education is seen as a tripolar process involving interaction between the pupil, teacher, and environment. A child is groomed in light of the society’s needs, as humans are social animals. Therefore, education should focus on the community rather than solely on the individual.

Aims of Education: 

Aims of education refer to the guidelines, directions, and guidance that show us the righteous path to reach our destination. Aims give meaning to life, education, and activity. Various aims of education include:

Individual Aim: This aims at the development of an individual’s uniqueness. Education should focus on the all-round development and natural growth of the child. The ultimate good of society lies in discovering the hidden value of each individual. Some individualists describe this aim as “self-realization.”

Social Aim: This aim emphasizes the importance of society over the individual. Education is seen as a means for an individual to acquire socialization, learn social norms, and develop their personality in the context of society. Critics argue that this aim subordinates the individual to the state and overlooks the needs and interests of individuals.

Vocational Aim: The vocational aim of education aims to make individuals capable and financially independent. It focuses on providing individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a profession or trade, reducing unemployment.

Moral Aim: Education should instill moral values and contribute to character building. It aims to develop individuals who are morally conscious, able to solve problems in a humble manner, and differentiate right from wrong.

Cultural Aim: This aim emphasizes the importance of respecting and preserving one’s culture. Education plays a role in freeing individuals from cultural dominance and promotes cultural identity and diversity.

Spiritual Aim: Education contributes to the spiritual development of individuals, providing strength to their soul and mind. Spiritual aim aims to cultivate individuals who behave better and possess a strong sense of spirituality. However, it is important to strike a balance to prevent individuals from disconnecting from worldly life.

Achieving all these aims of education is essential to fulfill the true purpose of education.

In conclusion, education is essential for individual and societal development. It serves various purposes, including personal growth, socialization, vocational preparation, moral and cultural development, and spiritual enlightenment. Education is facilitated through formal and informal agencies, both active and passive, as well as non-formal agencies that cater to diverse educational needs.

“Article Credit- Razia Paras”


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