Dawn of a New Era

Dawn of a New Era

“The lion in a circus learns that he needs to sit on the chair if his owner has a whip in his hand. But that lion is called well-trained, not well-educated.”

– Ranchoddas Chanchad, 3 Idiots (2009)

In the last eight months, education has been reshaped in India. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the method of teaching and mode of learning has been redesigned for online and distance education. Meanwhile, the HRD Ministry, now Ministry of Education, unveiled India’s new ground-breaking National Education Policy on the 29th of July 2020. With an aim to make India a knowledge superpower, this holistic reform aspires to bring about some fundamental changes in pedagogy at all levels in our country.

 Education is necessary for unlocking full human potential and creating a just society. By the next decade, India will have the world’s largest youth population and our ability to provide the finest education and the most favourable of opportunities to all will determine the future of our country. The new NEP aims at overhauling the education system and promises to bridge the gap between the fortunate and the underprivileged. By creating a  pool of highly skilled and trained personnel, India shall strive to register itself amongst the top three largest economies of the world and by 2040 formulate an education system that is second to none!

NEP-2020, which replaces NEP-1986, was deemed a progressive step in the direction of refining the elements of the latter. The policy can be seen as a continuation of the ideals and principles laid out in the Constitution of India, to ‘build an equitable, inclusive, and plural society’ as envisaged therein.

Achieving basic literacy and numeracy – The NEP has strengthened the base of education by re-envisioning the school curriculum from the 10+2 model to 5+3+3+4, emphasising the significance of the foundational stage, as 80% of the cognitive development of a child occurs around that phase. This contemporary policy is also a paradigm shift from Macaulay’s Education Policy framed before independence to propagate English medium teaching at all levels, as students can now opt for their regional language as medium of instruction till grade 5.

Fostering a new generation of thinkers – It’s no secret that for the better part, education in India has been about cramming facts and figures. The NEP has set out to change this whole system of rote learning by encouraging a ‘critical thinking’ approach which will promote faster adaptation of skills and a more self-driven and autonomous workforce of professionals who are globally competitive.

Creating a more diverse society – Students have been provided greater flexibility in the choice of subjects and all courses will be taught at two levels of proficiency- major and minor. There will be no separation between vocational and academic, curricular and extra-curricular and arts and sciences. 

NEP-2020 comes at a time when almost 183 nations are expected to feel the heat of a reducing GDP. Although not mandatory, it has laid down a systematic framework that every state in the country should follow. It is therefore essential that the projected outlay of 6 per cent of GDP towards the education sector is provided in the annual budget to build a robust infrastructure, and to ensure proper execution of the policy. Abigail Adams once said, ‘Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence’. Hence students too, must do their part so that this revolutionary scheme is implemented in both letter and spirit.

– Pia Dhar

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