NEP 2020 recognises schools as places for intellectual development and character building. Preparing students to become responsible citizens and participate in community development is the original mandate for schools. In addition to their academic achievement, students' abilities in communication, relationships, and social skills are better predictors of their success in school and beyond.
Nature of Learning-System
The NEP 2020 encourages deeper learning against rote learning. To reach that end, schools must adopt a strategy supporting concept mastery, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and self-directed learning. A learning system is like a living system- interconnected, dynamic, adaptive, and resilient.
It thrives on reciprocity, diversity, and co-existing together. Janine Benyus, a biomimicry expert, says, “we need to take a seat in nature’s class, from which we sprang.” Values of inclusion, equity, differentiation, peer-to-peer learning, and creating a resilient and adaptive education system spring from nature’s way of functioning.
Lessons from COVID
NEP 2020 came about when education changed radically owing to COVID-19. Home converted classrooms did not have the children alone in attendance; there were parents too. The parents were in awe and witnessed what they had never done. For the teachers, it was an act of courage to put themselves up to scrutiny, discussion, criticism, performance appraisal, and on-the-spot feedback.
Parents in their new role turned into assistant teachers, discipline heads, home tutors, and supervisors all rolled in one. This experience of the schools and parents recognised the need for a structured parental engagement.
Despite a broad understanding and recognition of parental role in the child's learning outcomes, schools have tactically maintained a distance from a deeper engagement with the parents.
Beyond regular parent-teacher meetings and handing over report cards, not many schools can boast of embracing parents as partners in learning. While leading learning and culture, school leaders must include parents, even at the risk of over-enthusiasm. Parents can bring much value to schools through their energy, talent, and network.
As we expand our understanding of the critical role of educators in building character and human capital, there need to be corresponding efforts to find new ways to support and train school leaders and teachers. Educators must participate in professional development, learn to embrace team building, and model character. Such a shift requires new ideas and more intuitive thinking regarding self-development, resource allocation, and openness to implementing innovative teaching practices.
In its latest report reimagining education, UNESCO exhorts systems to abandon what has not worked, continue with what has worked, and think afresh to innovate new models.
School leaders need to communicate compassionately to stimulate intellectual discussions. By instilling empathy, they can gain the trust of the community. Transformational school leaders, like those in any other field, must influence emotionally to cause a mind shift, be an inspiration to bring in behavioral change, and be impactful by taking accountability.
NEP’s success in transforming education lies in schools leading with purpose, managing student and teacher agency, scaling up the technology, and undertaking systemic reforms. Schools with a clear vision, learning culture, and collective decision-making have higher chances of making a lasting change. Prime Minister Modi, while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the red fort on Aug 15, acknowledged that NEP 2020 will play a pivotal role in making India a developed nation by 2047.
Dr. Ashok Pandey |
The author Dr. Ashok Pandey is the lead mentor at Crimson Education