Implications of the National Education Policy 2020 on higher education in India

first_imgThe National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that was in works since 2016 has come up with an extremely ambitious vision. It has delineated certain overhauls in the education system. We shall talk about them and their probable implications in the subsequent paragraphs.The suggested 5+3+3+4 pattern has been put in place with respect to the age of a child. Presumably, this demarcation has been done keeping in mind the psychological power a child possess while transcending through the childhood towards adolescence. NEP 2020 has considered pre-school in its plan which is the first of its kind for any government to spread its outreach to this level. Its primary focus is to increase the GER ( Gross Enrollment Ratio) from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035. Other important provisions are made towards strengthening the vocational courses penetration amongst the children and giving them various exit points thereby facilitating them to continue their studies in multiple ways. Also scrapping the conventional Arts, Science and Commerce streams is a big step towards inclusion of all the students into a single stream.What could be the implications of these changes is a prime-time debate. Can these aforementioned changes and some more listed in the draft address all the concerns or once again the policy makers have overlooked the underlying issues begetting the wreck in the educational structure of our country? The answers to these pressing questions can only be answered eventually but we can list out the plausible implications these might have in the times to come.There are many reasons causing the drop-out of school going children ranging from poverty to the traditional setup of the families and mental pressure such as forcing to take up courses against the choice of the child and bullying in the school . We, as Indians have a mindset that only children with engineering and medical degrees succeed in life. This thought is institutionalized in the core ideology of almost every middle- class Indian. Far-fetched problems emerge from here. This leads to extreme pressure on children to pursue a STEM course although their interest may lie in some artistic facet of the world. Unless this mindset is taken care of, it will not result into any massive change that the government envisions. Having said that it is the need of the hour to propagate non- STEM institutions and the great future that lies ahead of the person who pursues it. Changing the mindset of people is not a one-day activity . It will at least take a decade or two to revamp the thought-process and then the proposition to scrape Science, Commerce and Arts and bring them under one roof will start making sense.One of the other implications that can be seen in foresight is the excessive importance given to the vocational courses. This can give rise to reduced interest in the academics and uptake of vocational professions by the children since at that stage small number of students are interested in the curricular part. Children living in the rural areas are exposed to the shortcomings of monetary benefits and the distress in the household that ensues thereafter. This makes earning money more important to them rather than gaining appropriate education to create a meaningful life and stable livelihood in the long run. Some of the other factors that contribute in this is the death of a parent, increased family debt, illness, lack of interest and sick parents. Thus, from this we can infer that a large number of social-economical aspects govern the decision of a child to continue/ discontinue the studies. Imposing the need to gain vocational training can only add to this and make them discontinue their studies and thereby become a child labor. This imposition is set to cause more problems than acting as a perceived solution. Digitization helping this scenario is far from true unless the basic need and importance of education is instilled in the society.Another important point is the medium of imparting the knowledge. It is proposed that till 5th standard the mode of communication has to be the mother tongue. This brings about a serious problem that shall prevail in the society. A child speaks his mother tongue at home. It is extremely crucial to make him proficient in English language. There has been mass migration across states in the country. Let us assume a Bengali family settles down in Gujarat. The child shall only be exposed to Gujarati and Bengali until the age of 10 (5th grade) or maximum till the age of 13 ( 8th grade). For the first 13 years of his life a child will not be exposed to a universal language spoken across the world ( English), then how do we ascertain that there will be a considerable amount of uptake of digital tools specifically created for the children? This can cause a generation of kids with poor English- speaking skills which will eventually limit their networking, socializing and cognitive skills. The nobel thought behind carving out this point in the draft can be reiterated to bring about an acceptable policy. An alternative could be to have various subjects within the curriculum that can present the rich history of the particular state the child resides in and India at large before the students. Books can be made mandatory so that no child can miss out on reading some incredible piece of work by celebrated authors. Audio visuals can be shown, and a discussion should be initiated amongst the students that would help in developing their reasoning skills. Heritage walks can be organised to communicate about the rich heritage of the city they reside in. Street plays, drama and theatre can also be organized ; these would help in honing the artistic skills within the kids.One major lackadaisical aspect of the policy is the paucity of proper timeline. The implementation of this policy requires congruence of administration goals at every stage right from the grass root level to the Ministry which is difficult to achieve in India.Thus, I personally feel there are considerable number of loopholes in NEP 2020 that can cause irrevocable troubles in future and cause more harm than good to the society. We will have to wait and see whether the elaborate project remains on paper or translates successfully as per the think tanks of the country.Disclaimer: The views expressed are of my own and does not represent any institutionlast_img read more

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