Over 90 representatives from private schools across Maharashtra had a discussion with the state education department on Tuesday to provide suggestions and perspectives on implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The meeting was conducted following the recent direction by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to form a committee to look into the implementation of the policy in the state.
Representatives of private schools shared their perspectives and suggestions to add value to the pedagogy of NEP frameworks at the ground level. Francis Joseph, co-founder of School Leaders Network (SLN) who attended the meeting, said, “Private schools want to get involved and have offered full support in terms of curriculum development. We can build a basic kind of foundation then the state can add value and make local context on how to implement it."
Questions regarding the structure of schools, independent pre-schools and junior colleges were raised in the meeting. Also, how much investments should be made in schools, how many options should be given, cost of hiring and paying teachers for multiple options, and space issues were discussed.
Rohan Bhat, trustee of Children's Academy group of schools who spoke about the concerns of Class 3 to 8, said, “We highlighted issues before the state came out with solutions for the implementation of the policy. For example, the idea of continuous assessment has some major problems such as high number of students per class and choice of subjects. We are not against choice of subjects but the cost goes up when we add multiple subjects."
Swati Popat Vats, who represented as the president of the Early Childhood Association (ECA) and Association for Primary Education and Research, said, "Maharashtra already has the Aakar curriculum so the new guidelines should remove the rote and stress based learning of letters and numbers, and should focus on active learning strategies with a focus on the ‘how’ and not the ‘what’." The government should encourage private participation in the preschool space especially since more than 80 per cent of private standalone schools are run by women edupreneurs."
The state education department has been conducting several discussions with various stakeholders of schools and colleges, representatives, school heads, educationists and non-governmental organisations (NGO). Teachers have been asked to submit their feedback on the new policy.