• Mahija Ratnoo

The ABC of NEP-20

The Kasturirangan Committee submitted the final draft of education policy, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019. It laid out a roadmap to create a multidisciplinary learning environment, aiming to transform India’s human capital development.

Based on this draft, the Union Cabinet approved the new National Education Policy(NEP) 2020, which aims at bringing transformational reforms deeply rooted in Indian ethos, to rebuild India as a “global knowledge superpower”.

Before unearthing the new NEP-2020, let’s take a trip down the memory lane to know about the journey traversed by education policy; to evolve into the form that it is today.

NEP 2020 proposes the following major reforms in the Indian Education System

Despite the policy being well drafted after years of brainstorming, there have been some gaps left to be filled in the NEP2020:

· Education, initially, was a state subject. However, the 42nd amendment act of 1976 made Education a concurrent subject, giving the central government the power to legislate. The NEP-2020 is being seen by some states as having an overarching tendency towards centralization. Hence, an ardent task for the center to build consensus among states to achieve the proposed targets

· The aspirations proposed are very high, with fears looming of low feasibility

· There is a dire need of qualified and trained teachers in schools, but policy promises robust recruitment; with no promise of full recruitment at all levels

· The overambitious target of doubling the gross enrolment ratio from 25.8% to 50%, in higher education

· The policy aims to spend 6% of GDP on education, however the same has been continuously decreasing for the past 6 years now. In addition to this, the NEP Draft suggested spending of 20% of the public investment in education

· Almost unrealistic expectations of self-disclosure by private institutions

· The use of local/vernacular language till the 5th standard will create a language dispute, similar to the ones we have witnessed in southern parts of the country post-independence w.r.t. use of Hindi language

· The NEP Draft proposed closure of all commercially-oriented private education. But the Policy stays unclear on this aspect

· Failure of the various regulatory processes to control profiteering pattern via unaccounted donations

· There is a provision of the National Education Commission in NEP2020 at the state level too, but no provision of any kind of state school education regulatory authority finds mention

· It’s a tough task to differentiate philanthropist education & benevolent from undesirable, but market forces driving an education sector

· To ensure digital education, especially during the present unprecedented times of COVID, digital divide must be bridged at the earliest

The policy is a firm step towards building a holistic, multidisciplinary, and flexible education system; aligned with the needs of the 21st century and SDG goals 2030. It gives youth ample scope to experiment, grown, and evolve. The intent of the policy stands justified and ambitious, it is the implementation that will decide the success of the policy realistically.

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