Bhawna Khanna an Eminent Educationist
Every country needs a well defined, futuristic education policy for its economic and social progress.
Announced after 34 years, NEP is need of the hour. Running on traditional approaches and methodologies, the Indian education system displayed a lot of lacunae which were receding it from universal goal and hence a dire need of modification was felt to take India to the goal of self reliance and success in global competitiveness.
The policy has come at the right time and the objective is very noble. But there lies a world of difference between laying down a policy on paper and following it in spirit.
The new NEP is a positive re imagination of India’s existing education regime. It has some very impressive prepositions which includes holistic, student centric learning model, scientific temper and evidence based thinking. The main highlights comprise of dissolution of stream boundary, multi disciplinary approach, emphasis on life skills and formative assessments rather than summative assessments.
However, there are various impediments and challenges to implementation of NEP in schools and at higher levels which may include-
*Reimagining and adopting pedagogical changes- to include soft skills along with foundational, cognitive, critical and higher order thinking skills
* Changing ideology- from current mind-set to give way to new approach involving change in recruitment and grooming policies as well.
* Rethinking assessment- to shift from summative assessment in school leaving examination to formative assessment to inculcate beyond the books and classroom concepts.
* Mentoring educators- to make learning an enjoyable and engaging task.
* Raising the bar for teachers- to have best and brightest in the profession, earning respect for the ones who truly shape out next generation of citizens and to remove personal and professional barriers of working in remote and inaccessible locations.
* Funding and scaling the new model- to meet student- teacher ratio of 1:35, increase the pay bands of teachers, to orient them towards new teaching techniques and align greater public funding in higher education.
* Value of certification/ degree and diplomas- as Indian psyche closely associates jobs with degrees acquired and hence a need to dismantle the archaic thinking.
* Orientation for multi disciplinary education- to enable foundational and higher order thinking as well as skill inculcation at different levels of education. This urgently calls for an overhaul of curriculum to make it flexible and organic.
* Digital connectivity- to penetrate in remote areas to develop digital classrooms, expertise driven online teaching models, AR/ VR technologies to overcome gaps in physical teaching and lab infrastructure, uniform assessment schemes across schools, etc as witnessed during the pandemic.
The NEP 2020 drafting committee has made a comprehensive attempt to design a policy that considers diverse view points, global best practices in education, field experiences and stakeholders’ feedback. The mission is aspirational but the implementation roadmap will decide if this will truly foster an all inclusive education that makes learners industry and future ready.