National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 - An Analysis
September 23, 2020
NEP 2020 is a major policy reform to transform Bharat into a ‘knowledge power’ on the globe. — Abhishek Pratap Singh
One of the major concerns in Indian education system remains, even after seven decades of independence is the right to equitable, accessible, affordable and quality education for all. The range of factors, which are both social and economical play their role in affecting one’s right to access and participate in our education system.
In the Indian context, various factors like as caste, gender, poverty, geography, place of residence etc have played ‘negative role’ in access to provide education for all in last many decades. Moreover, the situation of ‘inclusive higher education’ has been impaired more seriously in these years given range of factors like as financing, infrastructure and lack of skill. The high drop out rates proves to this fact everywhere. The situation demands that these circumstances do not impede the educational potential of Indian citizens.
Recently, government unveiled the New Education Policy, 2020 with the objective of bringing in wide-ranging structural transformations in primary, secondary and higher education sectors in India. This aims to make India a vibrant knowledge society. The mandate of NEP is to make the current educational system more equitable and accessible for all. The NEP invokes for multi-faceted reforms in our education system, and making the education system more operational and effective given new demands. It also seeks to maintain global competitiveness of our educational institutes and system. There are certain outcomes on the new NEP 2020 and I wish to list out some of the key developments on the subject, as we look to the beginning of new era in our education system.
Firstly, the present policy NEP 2020 is the outcome of strong communication with all the stakeholders in the sector. Fortunately, to the credit of the persons behind NEP, there were large-scale consultations behind the groups and it was opened up for the public as well to put forward their views and suggestions. Given the case, the new NEP is the conclusive document, which has come out of long deliberation and discussions with all the necessary groups.
Secondly, The new NEP is a major departure from the previous education policies. It seeks to address most critical limitations and fault lines in previous policies on education. From primary to higher education, it balanced its approach in aiming for new education reforms in the sector. It aims for universalization of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030, which is fundamental requirement of present times. This will bring 2 crores school children’s back into the mainstream through the open schooling system. (PIB, 2020)
Thirdly, in order to enhance the learning skills of young minds, the NEP 2020 ensures for teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language. India is a multilingual and diverse country, and if a child gets an opportunity to learn a regional language other than her/his mother tongue, there is no harm in it. There are many reports like as one by UN (2019) that asserts that, ‘languages play a crucial role in our daily lives’ and it is necessary to impart education in ones local language.
Fourthly, the policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate Program with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entries and exit points with appropriate certification. This is necessary to ensure flexibility in our education system and allows a person to opt for and draw a balance between education and employment in his life.
Lastly, the NEP envisages for some major institutional overhaul in our education system. The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
Meanwhile, the most important of all the objectives is that the Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. While there are some concerns on the issues like ‘privatisation of education’ and ‘scope of liberal education’ in India, but as the policy unfolds and that too in the times of social distress and economic stagnancy it will be a daunting task to set out reform scheme as envisaged in our NEP 2020.
If we can do it then certainly, Bharat will acquire its preeminent position as a ‘knowledge power’ in the global world based on imparting meaningful, assimilative and skill-centric education to our students.
Autho is Assistant Professor, Deshbandhu College, DU.