Bhopal: The Union Government, on Wednesday, announced the New Education Policy (NEP), 2020. The new policy proposes sweeping and fundamental changes in the education system right from the pre-primary to the university levels with emphasis on skilling students, promoting research, discouraging rote learning and introducing flexibility in selection of subjects. It provides the students the option of exiting midway from their UG courses.
Educationists and teachers Free Press talked to, welcomed the new policy but with a rider. They all said that while the document is brimming with revolutionary ideas and path-breaking proposals, one has to wait and see how it is implemented. It would serve no purpose if it remains just a piece of paper.
Vice-chancellor, Dr B R Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhow, Asha Shukla said, “The emphasis on primary education through mother tongue in the new policy is a welcome, as also the stress on skill development and on egalitarian and inclusive education. The new policy envisages the promotion of education of women. This is very important. Ancient India had scores of learned women but subsequently, we degraded into a patriarchal society. Educating women and girls would reverse the trend. The move to grant autonomy to colleges and to constitute clusters of colleges deserves appreciation. Under the policy, there would be two kinds of universities - Affiliating universities and Research universities. The latter would be dedicated only to research. If India wants to become a knowledge power, it has to promote research.
Dr Vinod Kumar Parashar, Professor, Geology, Motilal Vigyan Mahavidyalaya, Bhopal opined that the new policy might be a path bearer. “I am not completely acquainted with all the facets of the new policy but from whatever I have read, it seems to be a step in the right direction. It envisages that all students passing class 12 would be equipped with some or the other skill. Thus, they would be able to earn their livelihood even if they don’t get a white-collar job. The proposal to have two types of UG courses – a three-year one for those who just want a degree to appear in competitive examinations and a four-year one for those who want to pursue higher education – is a welcome move. And so is the decision to abolish the M.Phil. Course. The government has decided to disband the UGC and the AICTE and constitute a unified Union Education Ministry. This would streamline decision-making. But much will depend on how the policy is implemented. After all, the proof of the pudding is in its eating.”
Sudhakar Parashar, Principal of Govt Subhash Excellence Higher Secondary School, Bhopal said, “The emphasis on pre-primary education in the new policy is a revolutionary move. This was a largely neglected area, especially in government schools. Private schools are running kindergarten and nursery classes but in government schools, children’s education begins from class one. This would change now. Secondly, under the new policy rote learning would be discouraged and emphasis would be on developing the reasoning power and analytical skills of the students. This is a great idea but its execution would be a big challenge. It would warrant changes in text books, in examination pattern and even more importantly, in the style of teaching. Currently, our classrooms have only one-way communication. The teacher speaks and the students listen. Under the new policy, the teachers would be required to talk less and listen more. This would require a change in the mindset of the teachers. We have seen many excellent policies and proposals and drafts. But how they are executed is important.”
Monika Jain, Director of Search and Research Development Society Bhopal feel that the new policy will make children knowledgeable instead of bookworms. “One very attractive feature of the new policy is that it proposes to allow a student to say, study history and physics or home science and mathematics together. This is in sharp contrast to our present system, which is very rigid. Currently, we have groups of subjects like PCM or PCB or Commerce and the students can opt only for a group not for individual subjects. Secondly, the proposal to introduce vocational education from class five onwards deserves all praise. That would ensure that our students are not merely bookworms. They would also have practical knowledge.”
Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Principal of Bal Bhawan School Bhopal thinks that it is a very forward-looking policy. If implemented well, it will make India a global knowledge hub. “The best part is that we will be allowing leading institutions of higher learning from all over the world to come to India and impart education to our youngsters. The standard of education will improve drastically. That is also the need of the hour. It is a very impressive document and we are thankful to the government for coming out with it. What remains to be done is proper implementation at the ground level and adequate budget allocation. The government must look into it.”