To introduce the latest National Education Policy (NEP), we don’t just need to release a circular. We would need to demonstrate support for this and be ready for it. Stakeholders will have to view it as ‘Mahayagya’ to improve the country’s present and future, “said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at August 7th’s inaugural address at a conference on” Transformational Higher Education Reforms under National Education Policy. At a meeting presided by PM Modi, the cabinet authorized the NEP which replaces India’s 34-year-old education policy.
Modi lingered on the much-debated facets of the reform, including the way schools teach to the autonomy status granted to higher education institutions.
The key findings from Modi’s talk are:
- Although the NEP ‘s three-language rule has been a subject of controversy for a long time, the final policy dropped Hindi from the three languages recommended for NEP teaching and suggests teaching in the mother tongue up to at least class 5. Commenting on it, the PM said, “We need to make our students into global citizens who are rooted in their culture. The learning ability of students will improve if the language they speak at home and the language in which lessons are taught in school is the same. Thus, the National Education Policy recommends teaching in the mother tongue until as long as possible or at least till class 5. This will strengthen the foundation of students.”
- Another issue up for debate is the autonomy given to higher education institutes. Highlighting the issue, Modi said: “There are two schools of thought when it comes to autonomy. One says that the government should overlook the functioning, the other demands more freedom. While the first can be criticised for being biased towards government-run institutes, the other treats autonomy as an entitlement. The road to quality-education goes through the middle of the two ways.” He continued that more independence would be granted under National Education Policy institutes which focus more on quality education. That said, the PM would enable the educational institutions to work harder and will also serve as an opportunity to do well.
- PM Modi said the National Education Policy is promoting positive debate culture. He stressed policy enforcement and asked universities and colleges to conduct virtual meetings to ensure NEP meets the person from the farthest corner. Modi also congratulated former chief of the ISRO, K Kasturirangan, to lead the committee that drafted the legislation. The strategy, the PM said, would shape the base for the new India.
- PM Modi said the National Education Policy not only pulls India out from “herd mentality” which pushed students to become engineers, doctors, lawyers, to focusing on innovation, curiosity, critical thinking but also emphasizes teacher training. ” I believe, when a teacher learns, the national leads.”
The conclave will have addressed from vice-chancellors of prominent universities, members of NGOs, and other stakeholders who will discuss the implementation of the policy.