The Central Government has approved the first National Education Policy of the 21st Century on July 29, 2020. Said education policy comes after waiting for a long period of 34 years, which witnessed a phase of information revolution. In the meantime, the stated mission of this policy is to address the great changes and challenges that have taken place in the world, with the eternal mission of emphasizing India’s self-sufficiency, creating an energetic knowledge community and becoming a world teacher. The policy reflects the aspirations of 135 crore Indians. Therefore, this comprehensive and all-encompassing policy can be described as a genuine national policy on education.

The vision of the present policy is to create a complete Indian not only in colour and form but also in outlook, thought, taste and opinion. This will put an end to the Eurocentric views that have dominated the entire region of India for the last two centuries. The new education policy aims to ensure that India does not lag behind in education before it completes 100 years of independence in 2047. The dream of a first world status for India is the aspirations whole Indians, especially the youth. NEP 2020 effectively addresses the challenges for the youth of India and can be called a student centric and futuristic policy document.

This article was originally published in Vidyachintan on December 25, 2020

The most striking feature of this policy is its integrity and consistency in approach. This policy puts forward a framework that evaluates the holistic development of the individual, the structure of education, governance practices, content structure, learning styles, and life values. Positions are taken with a good sense of the gap between present realities and future possibilities. Establishing basic literacy and math skills at an early age is very important. The policy takes into account all the differences such as social, economic, regional, gender, linguistic, physical and mental. It is unequivocally stated that everyone should be treated equally in the execution and that each child should be able to stand on his own. Thought and strength to lay the foundation stone of a self-reliant India through project implementation that treats backward areas as special education areas while giving value to life and self-esteem is the key to unite the various proposals in the National Education Policy.

What to study? How much to study? The policy proposes to restructure the current school structure of 10 + 2 into a 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 in line with the curriculum through a scientific approach, in a way that teaches the ‘how to learn’ approach. This will change the face of school education. Eighty-five percent of a child’s intellectual development takes place between the ages of three and eight. It is envisioned as the basis of education. Here one will learn art, story, poetry, song, inquiry and study. Through this, the child gets the opportunity to grow up knowing and experiencing the beauty of many languages ​​and the sweetness of the mother tongue. Not only will learning not be burdensome but it will also be imaginative.

The atmosphere of the school, the attitude of the teachers and the participation of the parents are essential elements of early childhood education. Instead of dragging down the current formal primary education, the curriculum will be implemented with more emphasis on good habits and physical and mental development through stories and games that make the child’s naturalness more meaningful. The neglected and insecure childhood of the youth will be made meaningful through a scientific and practical child education program. This is a revolutionary change in the quality of education and social development. The proposal to complete the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and teacher training to this level in 2021-22 is an indication of the importance attached to early childhood education.

The emphasis of the next three years on the second phase is to ensure the basic principles of languages ​​and mathematics. The National Literacy Quality Mission will be set up to ensure that every child reaches the sixth standard by acquiring basic literacy and mathematical ability. Here one will have the opportunity to learn different languages ​​with an emphasis on your mother tongue. Admission to the subjects is for the next three years. The group can study arts and crafts according to their tastes and local possibilities. One can go to school without a book for at least ten days. This vocational education is not about skills, but about finding passion, giving experience, and changing perspectives. To get a closer look at the diversity of society. To connect formal education with traditional knowledge and skills. Through this process of integrating modern education with traditional knowledge, skills and technology, education will be in tune with the culture, nature and development dreams of the youth of India. Each school will reflect the modern application of the Wardha model of basic education, which he himself designed in the Gandhian concept of self-reliance. In this way learning can be applied from theories. For a child, education and school did not seem alien to his surroundings. The book load will be reduced and the study will be simple and enjoyable.

The curriculum for grades 9-12 will be designed for children between the ages of 14 and 18, taking into account the aspirations and possibilities of free thinking among adolescents. Science, mathematics, sociology, art and humanities can be studied in depth and breadth. He can choose for himself from a variety of subjects to cross the ladder of life’s ambitions. No language or subject can be imposed on anyone. The emphasis will be on evaluating the conceptual development process in the new system. There will be board exams twice a year at two levels at ten and twelve. This will save our youth from excessive stress and tension.

Curriculum and value in a way that gives India the glorious history, great contributions in the field of science, our values ​​of life, the arts, the sense of citizenship that the Constitution puts forward, the ability to find peace and persuasion to address various challenges facing the world such as climate change, exploitation, pollution, unrest and violence. Instead of looking into textbooks, one should look for and find opportunities for rational thinking and discussion. It offers the unity, beauty and richness of the diversity of Indian languages ​​and the opportunity to delve into the unknown depths of various disciplines. It also adds to empowering the personality by raising the self-esteem and self-confidence of the young learners. In short, NEP 2020 offers opportunities for strengthening the national fabric by transforming the youth of India into intellectual warriors.

Published by Vishnu S. Warrier