July 28 2020 came as a new day with new changes implemented by the central cabinet on education policies in India. According to the government, the policy is more inclined towards increased skills than increased learning. This new education policy has come replacing the working education policy of 1986. The policy is holistic in its views with all the guidelines for primary and higher education and also including the guidelines for rural and urban education systems. All in all the policy aims to bear its fruits by the year 2040. This was a much-required change but the functioning of the policy has not started yet. The government also aims at increasing the budget funding for education from 3% to 6% of the total GDP.
Language, school, education, and their implications
The National Education Policy has laid down greater emphasis on the Mother tongue or local language till the age of five. Sanskrit and other languages will also be taught from an early age which is a good point as it helps the child to be connected to his roots. The main point is that the government does not intend on imposing any language on children which becomes helpful as various children in India do not have a good knowledge of similar languages. The implementation of the policy is entirely dependent on the state governments and there would be no central burdens. The center also focuses on increasing the scope of classical languages and also the schools for Pali, Prakrit and Persian would be set up too.
As per the N.E.P, education would be more liberal than before. Now, the children would be given the options and the choices to choose their field of interest right from the beginning. This will create more rational a person because of the free will the students would get and they will eventually become good citizens. In a world where technology is increasing and improving with every passing day, NEP clearly sidelines the inordinate stress which was earlier present by achieving narrow specialist skills from a cognitive age. The policy along with the liberality in education also uses the 5+3+3+4 model which allows students to go for a four-year under graduation program rather than a three-year one. The students now can also drop out from the course anytime without the problem of wasting their efforts. They will still be provided the certificate and the four-year Under Graduation program would be called Bachelor of Liberal Arts.
Thus, the NEP addressed the loopholes which were there in our fragmented education system and tries well to cover that up and at the same time removes the rigidity in the education system. No doubt, the goal is immense, but the enforcement of liberal education will actually lead to requirements of enormous resources and human capital which in long run may make education expensive as in America.
The policy in concern does not only limits to the education for children but education for teachers too who are a stepping stone for the further glorification of a country. The policy will focus not only on a qualified teacher but a growing teacher. Continuous research and development in the field will be required to be done by the teachers too. A greater focus on vocational education is seen which is a good thing to start with. The future of all this would be that teaching would not be an easy thing and it will be a rigorous task to always be in touch with studies and to know what’s good for children.
Opportunities and positive sides of the policy
- The most concerning lack in our previous policy was regarding the segregation of students from the very beginning into three extremes, that is; science, arts, and commerce instead of providing an integrated education opportunity. At a tender age, a lot of students who are unaware of their choices tend to make a wrong choice and hence suffer for that. This, not only makes them suffer intellectually but also makes them devoid of knowledge related to other areas for the students with varied interests. For example, if a student loves business as a subject but he is also hell-bent on learning physics, these two extremes would require him to choose one on the cost of the other. Thankfully, for the students of coming decades, this system would be no longer function and the students would be allowed to choose their own subject combination based on their interests. This is in fact a much-needed and very progressive thought as a student will be the most productive only if he/she is allowed to choose what to study.
- The second majorly discussed advantage of the policy is the removal of 10+2 education and turning to the 5+3+3+4 education system. This is in line with Western education. Earlier, the children used to join the school at 6 years of age but not now. The primary education now would begin from 3 years of age. This will enhance students’ growth and grip with studies and will further help them in pursuing higher education.
- The next amusing fact about the NEP policy is that education would now be divided into stages. Class 6 to 8 would be more indulged in experimental learning to increase the reasoning of the child which is the main focus of the policy. Class 9 to 12 would be disciplinary classes where students would be given more choices and more options plus apprenticeship learning would begin right from an early age so that a student’s charm would remain. The vocational learning would take over the traditional learning practices which was a lot of theory. Students will be taught the work of electrician, carpenter, plumber in a skilled manner. In India, where these jobs are looked down upon, every student[ no matter from which background] would be required to learn and excel in any of the programs. This increased skill brings with itself a less course burden which is again a very good thought to live with till the time it actually turns to reality.
- Another revolutionary thing that happened is the change of the resulting system. In India, people still assess the potential of a person with what marks he/she gets in class from the teachers. A lot of times, students find in unfair to be judged by one leading authority. Here comes the new policy under which, students will evaluate themselves and their fellows at every end of the session. This is a good and healthy tool to make them realize their downfalls and strengths. This is not a random ranking of oneself but a critical evaluation of one’s own performance. This is also useful as while growing up, nobody tells you where you lack and if you are habitual of knowing your own faults then there would be nothing better.
- Now, the investment in education and research will also increase. This is a point which is taken up in almost every budget session but there was no significant rise seen in the same. But, now the government has decided to increase the funding for education from 4.3% of G.D.P to 6% of it. This is actually difficult for a developing country with a lot of areas to work on but this is a fact of the future and we can just wish and hope that this promise of the government actually bears its fruits in the coming time.
- Every student till now has gone in under many tests and exams in school. The exam patterns are hardly dependent on any logic except on logical subjects like mathematics and science. Thus, in the early years, a student is put to a habit of mugging things up which is not a good habit as it does not stay for long, and thus, there is no good in doing so. But now, clearing exams is not the only concern which will undertake a child’s mind but also the practical knowledge because the pattern of the exams will change in the coming time. The pathway to achieving this is not mentioned but the very fact that it is there suffices to say that it will do well once implemented diligently and effectively.
Problems of the policy
- As mentioned earlier, the policy is heavily criticized for language. The policy states, ‘whenever possible, the medium of instruction till fifth grade or preferably till class 8 and beyond are going to be the house language, local language or regional language’. This, as I mentioned before is not to be imposed upon but is still problematic as it has been seen that once such policy is laid-down, knowingly or unknowingly, the school authorities may emphasize one language over another. Think about those students whose parents belong to such a profession that they have to switch their places time and again. How will that child adjust to the language constraint every time?
- The policy is lacking for the fact that the entire decision regarding its work was taken by the Central Government. Education and its workings differ from state to state as education comes under a concurrent list. The facilities which are provided are also quite centralized.
- The policy once read would show itself being really theoretical and whether it would actually work its way or not is another concern. The actual implementation of the plan would not be easy or convenient and it would take a long amount of time to come into being.
Thus, as a coin has two sides, so does everything and also a policy. The points stated under the new economic policy [NEP] are definitely dicey but nevertheless, they show us a bright future if actions happen as per what is written in the policy.