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Beas Dev Ralhan

Ralhan is CEO & Co-founder, NextEducation India

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10 Things to Expect from the New Education Policy

With the government planning to introduce a policy for the next two to three decades, the eyes of the entire education sector are set on it.

The process of drafting the New Education Policy (NEP) began during the tenure of former HRD Minister Smriti Irani in January 2015. A committee under former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian came up with a report on the “evolution of a new education policy.” With the government planning to introduce a policy for the next two to three decades, the eyes of the entire education sector are set on it.

Here are 10 expectations of the K-12 sector:

1. Students of the modern era have rightly subscribed to digital citizenship. Their digital ways go beyond just surfing the net and checking mails. Hence, their education too has to be digitally attuned if it is to keep them engaged. The inclusion of digital tools in pedagogy and school administration at a more committed level would be welcome.

2. Teachers, too, need to be equipped with digital education if they are to use digital tools in the classroom. The government could encourage public-private partnership in certification, and thereby set a benchmark across the country. Further, as recommended by the TSR Subramanian committee, 50% marks at graduate level should be the minimum eligibility criteria for admission to B.Ed. courses. This would ensure the quality of teachers to a large extent.

3. Though the recommendation to increase the outlay on education to 6% of GDP has been ignored in various previous instances, the NEP would be truly revolutionary if it is able to bring this proposition to force.

4. Finding a job is one of the reasons for students to drop out of school. Aligning skill development and vocational training centres within the school set-up could open up a variety of avenues for students who would be able to attain focussed knowledge and, thus, become job-ready.

5.   Every investment ought to have returns. In case of private schools, parents spend a lot of money for the education of their children. In case of government schools, taxpayers’ money goes into educating the present generation, who are expected to contribute to the country’s economy in the future. In such a scenario, it is important to track the learning outcomes of students. Besides grades, the learning outcomes could be measured in terms of attendance, successful completion of schooling, joining college, etc.

6. As recommended by the TSR Subramanian committee, on-demand board exams could be introduced to help relieve students of year-end stress. This would also offer flexibility to the current education structure.

7. Teaching in the mother tongue could improve retention and performance. Local decision-making and autonomy to decide mother-tongue-based learning could be implemented. Many a times, underprivileged children are at a disadvantage because of their cultural distance from English and Hindi.

8. The effort of the government to promote Sanskrit has been viewed as ‘Saffronisation’ of education. However, Sanskrit scriptures are a storehouse of knowledge. From modern computational linguistics owing much to Panini’s monumental grammar framework Ashtadhyayi to blueprints of many ancient Indian temples symbolically represented in Vedas and Upanishads, the ways in which Sanskrit could help young minds gain knowledge are varied.

9. The no-detention policy has done more harm than good. So, we could expect it to be either revoked or be limited till grade 5.

10. The ambitious project of having a common curriculum for English, Maths and Science should also be taken up seriously. The national competitive examinations for entrance to law, engineering and medical courses put students from schools affiliated to the state boards at a disadvantage.

There is a lot of brouhaha over the delay related to NEP, however, if it is able to bring forth policies which would be revolutionary, the delay would not hurt in the long run. Especially, with the focus shifting from ‘education for all’ to ‘quality education’, the NEP could prove to be a milestone for the Indian education sector.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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