The last time as a millennial kid we got excited was India winning the cricket world cup in 2011 after 28 years succeeded by the New Education Policy approved after 34 years by the cabinet (without discussing in parliament).The changes are already uploaded on the ministry’s website as a Power Point presentation so instead of wasting time what all changes took place let’s talk about the implications.
6% of GDP on education means we will be spending more than some developed countries of Europe like Italy(4.1%) and France(5.5%) and not much behind than top ranked countries in field of education like Sweden(7.6%) and Finland(7.1%).Earlier India used to rank at 62nd position globally with 1.7% of GDP spent on education.
According to economic survey of 2018-19 India spent 0.7% on research and development of science&technology (GERD) which is far behind USA(2.8%) and Japan(4.5%).Talking about research work the govt.has decided to scrap M.Phil courses. While this move is being opposed we should also keep in mind that it will encourage more people to go for PhD and move into research field as the middle path has been scrapped and now one can directly go for PhD after masters. No matter how much we spend on education,the doubt regarding career options is always in mind of teenager.With no guidance and parental pressure most of the teenagers are found regretting in life later but this problem has been addressed in new policy with the inclusion of career counseling.To reduce more confusion from a teenagers mind,students will now be allowed to pick inter-disciplinary subjects and the rigid wall of division between different streams so a student can explore different arenas at once and maybe change his career regarding decisions later and not follow a pre-decided career path for his/her stream, a move which is already seen in various European systems like UK.
If the system is allowing multi-disciplinary options, different entrance exams will just end up pressurizing and frustrating the students therefore a common entrance exam test was necessary and so the govt. have included it.
There’ve been certain allegations that members of RSS were consulted for ideology inclusion in NEP but the fact that top 100 universities of world will be allowed to set campus here (which can be threat to ancient traditional & cultural methods) and emphasis on regional language/mother tongue (against One Nation: One culture) proves otherwise. Kids in their elementary level can learn the most in a language they are comfortable with and master globally recognized languages in a later phase of their school life only after they’ve understood the basics of Math,Science,etc. in a language they are familiar with. This will also help to break the stereotype which judges a person based on their fluency in English language though the majority of India not have English as first language.
We can’t imagine the future without computers and technology and therefore the decision to make computer programming training from class 6th onward is a big step because not only the future is driven by technology but also future jobs are also driven by technology therefore computer programming is a supportive decision for employability for a country like India having maximum organized sector jobs computer based.
The pandemic worked as a mirror to show us the digital and economic divide between different economic classes and how prepared are we to educate and learn via online platforms therefore the decision of focusing on E-education was a necessary one.The decision of focusing on internships and vocational training from early age is not only necessary for all round development of a kid but also for employment in different sectors and not just focusing on limited over crowded career options already suffering with job availabilities due to mob mentality of people.
Apart from improving our rank in the top universities list we also need to improve our rank in the medal tally of Olympic and for that initiations like 10-bag-less days and focus on physical activities will prove to be a wonder as a sportsman is not prepared to win a medal if you invest in him a month back but when you invest in his conditioning since childhood days with China and USA being prime examples.The fact that multiple exit points are available in new policy means that if someone due to unavoidable circumstances has to leave education before graduation at-least will leave with a certificate or diploma in hand and this may help to get a job.However,the govt. and society collectively try to help someone who is willing to dropout due to personal reasons by providing aid and scholarships.
The recent death of a Bollywood actor by suicide raised a nationwide concern on mental health and therefore the decision of mental wellness, counselling, cutting down of syllabus to core concepts along with yoga will prove to be a miracle.
On the other hand the exclusion on importance of sex education in an education policy of 21st century will prove to be a disaster.Day by day we are witnessing rises in sexual harassment and assaults case in which the culprits have seen a significant rise from the educated background, young, school/college students,etc. Law and order strictness might not be enough to reduce the rate of this and eradicate this problem.
The situation of females continuing education is not great, the high dropout rate supports my argument and maybe a slogan of ‘Beti Bachao,Beti Padhao’ was not enough therefore we see the gender inclusive nature of the policy and not to forget it includes third gender as well by creating a gender inclusion fund. This step should be considered as a huge step to bring ‘other’ genders in mainstream and fighting the taboo. Not only we the current education system faced gender inclusion issue but also inclusion of handicapped and disabled children and that point has also been take care of like special classes for deaf. MHRD to be renamed as Education Ministry which will lead to greater focus on education both in the political and public domain. However, instead of renaming a new ministry carved out from MHRD would’ve been more beneficial.
Moving on from school students to school teachers, have we ever thought why Kendriya Vidyalaya being a govt. school outperforms other govt. schools each year? The answer is Kendriya Vidyalaya accommodate kids of some of the highly reputed public service jobs.
The inclusion of 4 year B.ed programs with TET and National Professional Standards for Teachers is a positive step with some people criticizing the move of making education centralized but should remember the above given example of Kendriya Vidyalaya’s excelling and choice of medium as regional language but at the same time other state models like Kerala education model with nearly hundred percent literacy rate or Delhi’s govt. school model which has outperformed private school in national capital recently should be taken in consideration as well.
Talking about criticism there is a whole world to criticize, point out the mistakes which is necessary as well to bring in reforms but for now we should welcome the decision that we were supposed to welcome 34 years ago which means we are still 34 years behind and we got a lot to cover. We’ve often heard 21st century is of India or at some point of our life we must’ve took proud in calling India a young country with majority below 35 years old age mark and to develop them,to make them more skillful, to provide them employment and to later use the skills they,we learnt for development of India we needed reforms in the education policy. If the govt. has the right to take decision the public has the right to dissent, constructive criticisms should be welcomed.
The author is a Political Science (bachelors) student from SGTB Khalsa,University of Delhi