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Friday, September 30, 2022

New Education Policy 2020: The journey so far

Experts have come together to evaluate the transformation brought in by this revolutionary document (NEP) and the road ahead.

Kunal Vasudeva, Co-founder and COO of Indian School of Hospitality, shared how this reformative and revolutionary policy, launched in 2020, transformed the face of the Bharatiya education system. He said that the document could be deemed successful so far with respect to its aim to push educational institutes to revamp their curriculums and revise their pedagogical practices in alignment with evolving market dynamics.

He further stated, “One of the major reforms of the policy is increased international collaboration between institutes. This gives students the flexibility to plan their education in a way that gives them global exposure and more options than ever. NEP focuses on enhancing students’ overall learning experiences and making education more skill-based and international, which would eventually lead to an upskilled workforce.

“The success of the NEP lies in its swift execution. Industries worldwide are evolving rapidly, so the pace of transformation needs to be as quick. While incremental changes are happening, what we really need is faster execution of the policy to keep pace with the changing world. The current workforce must be equipped by educational institutes to combat future challenges, and this progressive transformation can come through the rapid implementation of suggested reforms in NEP 2020.”

Prof Arvind Chaturvedi, Director, School of Management, IILM University, Gurugram, took a step further, sharing how the new policy is helping the nation in emerging as a global knowledge hub.

Bringing the focus on the five key education issues, including affordability, accessibility, quality, equity & accountability, he emphasised how we have begun plucking the low-lying fruits and still struggling with roots to be adopted for difficult policy issues.

Prof Chaturvedi said, “When the NEP 2020 was launched, it was envisaged that the implementation would take quite some time and different parts of the education system would adopt it over time. The policy was introduced as a reform package 34 years after the last such policy was adopted by GoI. Thus when we look at the journey so far (in the last 2 years), we should be satisfied that we have started implementing various aspects in right earnest, and at the same time we shouldn’t be disappointed that many aspects have not been touched so far. It’s been a MIXED bag of achievements.”

He recognised several aspects of the NEP, stating, “It is appreciated that the UGC has taken several policy decisions recently to encourage research. Graduates with brilliant academic records are allowed to register directly for Ph.D.

“At the same time non-Ph.D experts from industry are allowed to be recruited by colleges & universities. It also could be counted as a success that several universities have started many multi-disciplinary programs including in Indology, Yoga, Liberal arts, music and culture. For example IIIT Lucknow has introduced many such tech-based programs. While successful efforts in many states have led to higher GER in schools, the same success has not been seen in HEIs. But trends are encouraging.”

However, he felt hesitant about certain aspects of the new education policy. Sharing his apprehensions, he said, “NEP recommended under a language policy that higher education institutions should provide education in mother tongue. Several states have already adopted this for Engineering, but it has not increased the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) due to apprehension on part of students and parents about employability.”

He added, “The rigidity of the regulatory bodies to retain control and slow decision process in public institutions has not led to flexibility in adopting new age curriculum, which may take time. District Information System on Education (DISE) data reveals that public schools have increased in numbers but total enrolment has fallen, while it has increased for private schools. This clearly shows that despite NEP 2020, the divide, inequality and gap continue. This is also a serious concern.”

He admired that NEP encouraged technology use, bringing continuity to the learning despite glitches posed by the pandemic. In this regard, he also acknowledged how NEP boosted the role of tech-based EdTech service providers by saying, “The last two years have seen phenomenal rise of such companies due to exponentially increasing demand. But the recent UGC decision to cut ties with such ed-tech companies is in contrast to the NEP objective.”

Taking the discussion further about the increasing role of Edtech in the implementation of NEP recommendations, Amit Kapoor, Co-Founder of Eupheus Learning, said, “The transformational education policy NEP 2020 has kept the educator and the learner right at the center. The policy lays emphasis on teachers on providing quality education to learners by diverting their attention from non-teaching tasks. The policy highlights digitization and automation as the enablers, hence the widening scope for EdTech firms.

“Schools now can work with EdTech firms to create a safe and secure operating system that integrates the 21st century educational content, learning platform as well as a dynamic school management system. The policy also paves way for digital libraries, online homework, assessments and virtual hobby, empowering educators.

“Similarly, it enables students to use digital means to submit, assess their performance and access quality content-both in the classroom as well as at home. With the help of digitalization, parents can view the regular progress of their child’s development and participate actively. Principals too can benefit from such solutions, maintain checks on school’s administration, and ensure timely fee collection. Also, the operating system allows for a constant communication update amongst users, thereby benefiting all stakeholders alike – principals, educators, parents, and students.”

Besides edtech, NEP has also come to the nation’s aid helping it achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals targeted for 2030. Reviewing its progress and the path ahead, Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman FICCI Arise & Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions, said, “National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, is a progressive education policy that has the potential to impact a large population in a country like India. In addition to quality, institutional autonomy and the need for innovation, the policy also takes into cognizance issues of equitability, inclusivity, accessibility, and the free spirit leading to exploration and experimentation.

The much-celebrated policy that has just entered the third year has not only captured these elements but is working towards its effective implementation. The work around regional languages, digital literacy programme – NISHTHA, National Curricular Framework and National Credit Framework, teachers training, skill development via both inter disciplinary and multiple disciplinary courses are some crucial and fundamental moves initiated by the government.”

He added, “FICCI, along with the government and other stakeholders have been working on many critical aspects of NEP that going forward would disrupt the edifice of conventional education and instill the nuances of industry in the ecosystem via the medium of global leadership and critical thinking.

Through the lens of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, there is room for more development. It is time that the government opens up the education sector to a credible private investment framework that balances the demand and supply chain by creating more space for supply of quality education; by helping in bringing about the much-needed investment in the sector. Further, the NEP implementation landscape must certainly entail a check on the goal of ensuring holistic development and maintaining quality learning outcomes.”

NEP has given us a glimpse of what all can be done by transforming the world of education. From elevating the quality of the country’s human resources to economic output and the ability to resolve 21st-century challenges with new age skills. Created with an aim to focus on the holistic development of students, it promotes the blend of multi-disciplinary education with practical training for overall skill development. Though this progressive, ambitious and carefully curated policy that ensures growth opportunities for the country’s youth would need a few more years and amends to fully achieve the desired outcome.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to HinduPost style guide)

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