India’s new education policy focuses on young minds

India’s new education policy focuses on young minds

The Budget proposals of 2021-22 envisage strengthening 15000 schools across India under New Education Policy (NEP). India till 2015 was ranked 92 in education among 145 countries but in 2019 it jumped five ranks in the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI), as per a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The GoI last year allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector and introduced the NEP which aims at honing the skills of the children from a very young age.

The NEP has replaced 10+2 structure with 5+3+3+4 model. It proposes a 4-year multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree in an undergraduate programme with multiple exit options. These will include professional and vocational areas. Becoming a teacher in India won’t be easy anymore as the candidate would require a minimum of 4-year Bachelor of Education degree by 2030.

Concept Of Education In ‘New India’

During the past few years focus in India has shifted from academics to overall growth of a child. The educationists have understood that times have changed and they have to offer more to students. Innovations have made education more interesting. The concept of education in “New India” is changing fast. The idea behind NEP seems to develop techniques of children in a very young age so that they grow up as skillful adults. The NEP is about catching them young.

An important ingredient of holistic education system is the relation between teacher and the student – it has to be friendly, inspiring, respectful and trusting.

This allows the child to develop a sense of security, explore and excel in his area of interest.

According to a survey India’s 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. The NEP has been formulated with an aim to ensure that this percentage declines and India’s generation next gets enough opportunities to prove its mettle.

But new idea of education is drilling a hole in the pockets of poor parents as private schools are making them pay through their nose. If the Government of India (GoI) allows these institutions to dictate terms, the idea of NEP may backfire as the education would become unaffordable.

‘Samagra Shiksha’ (Holistic Education)

After 2014 many things have changed in India and so has the education sector. It has witnessed reforms and disruptions, some ideas have worked while a few haven’t. It has been a mixed bag. The present dispensation in India is focusing on increasing the literacy rate in the country by making elementary education more interesting and fruitful. If the experiment works it will lead to decline in rate of school dropouts.

Last year the GoI launched Samagra Shiksha— an integrated scheme for school education—to support states from pre-school to senior secondary levels. The scheme aims at treating school education holistically from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary levels.

This scheme focuses on improving quality of education at all levels by integrating the two T’s – Teachers and Technology [4].
The “Samagra” means holistic approach to treat education as a whole.

After the introduction of this scheme every government run schools were provided sports equipment in abundance. Promoting sports has become an integral part of India’s new education system. Helmsmen on many occasions have said that they want to to realise the dream of “Khelega India Khilega India” (India will play).”

The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), according to the NEP, would be expanded from Class 6-8 to Class 6-12 to “fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment” to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save girl child by providing education to her).

The scheme envisages active participation of all stakeholders, including parents, school management committee members and others.
To strengthen teachers State Council for Education and Research Training (SCERT) and District Institute Education and Trainings (DIETs) have been designated as the nodal agencies for teacher training.

Another feature of scheme is “DIKSHA”- the national digital platform for teachers. This would put high quality teaching learning resources for ready use of teachers.

The scheme would also support ‘Operation Digital Board’ in all secondary schools over a period of 5 years to enhance the use of digital technology through smart classrooms, digital boards and DTH channels.
The Samagra Shiksha scheme has been devised to equip children with all-round skills – academic, extracurricular and vocational- so that they lay a strong foundation for the future development of India. It integrates teacher, technology and student learning.
Decentralised Education System
According to Worldwide Education for the Future Index 2019 report a decentralised education system in India was one of the shortcomings of its education policy.

It stated: “Well-intentioned policy goals relating to future skills development often do not get filtered downward, a hazard in economies such as the US and India that have large, decentralised education systems.”

Finland was at the apex of the index, with strengths across each category followed by Sweden.

The report also highlighted inability of India’s education system to utilise the opportunity of internationalising its higher education system.

No Indian University among top 100 institutes

An overview of higher education system in India reveals that none of the Indian universities or institutes figures in the list top 100 institutions of the world.

According to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2020, MIT is ranked no. 1 globally and it’s followed by Stanford University and Harvard University. Twenty one Indian universities and institutes are among the world’s top 1000 as compared to 25 last year [5].
IIT-Bombay, according to QS rankings, is India’s top institute and it’s followed by IISc Bengaluru.

Architects of the New Education Policy of India believe that to bring varsities and other institutions at par with foreign institutes education system has to change at lower level first. Time only will prove whether the reforms in education sector brought by Modi government will help India or not.

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