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India’s first Bharat-Centric Education Policy

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By Dr Luis Alvarez

The Nation Education Policy 2020, crafted under the able leadership of former Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ is a strategic blend of tools enabling the students to become strategically competitive so as to perform well at the global level. In fact, this policy will act as a strong foundation to creation of a self-reliant India (Atmanirbhar Bharat) as per the vision of Prime Minister Modi.

The New Education Policy, coming after 34 years, is unique as it derives its base from Bharat-centric values, culture, and languages. The best part is that NEP has a clear vision and defined objectives, which include pre-primary education to all by 2025, creation of National Research Foundation, multiple entry and exit options, academic bank of credit, provision of local language medium up to primary level, compulsory school education for all children in the age group of 3-18 years by 2030, the target of 50 percent Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by 2035 and new curricular with 5+3+3+4 structure. In fact, I strongly feel that NEP 2020 is the first Indian education policy in history of independent India as it lays tremendous focus on the Indian value system, culture and traditional knowledge which was never seen before.

The NEP is an ambitious document, which is focused on the holistic and overall development of the students to make them Atmanirbhar and enable them to compete with the world while maintaining the Bharat-centric values and culture. When I met Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” for the first time, he proudly shared this aspect of New Education policy. As a prolific writer, scholar, teacher and philosopher, his unique contribution will always be remembered. I was surprised to know that he had written more than 100 books. Even surprising was that fact that he had not only penned down poems, stories, novels, travelogues, but had extensively written on various socio-political and environmental issues.

I am glad that we launched a international campaign “Vedas and World Peace “which has become very popular. Understanding the fact that Vedas reflect the importance of social concord and International understanding, co-existence of nations, peace and unity, happiness and fraternity, these values have been weaved into India’s policy. In fact, Vedas show us the way to achieving these objectives. Where in the world can you find such a wonderful and amazing prayer?

Swami Vivekanand has said “Education, education, education alone! Travelling through many cities of Europe and observing in them the comforts and education of even the poor people, there was brought to my mind the state of our own poor people, and I used to shed tears. What made the difference? Education was the answer I got.” The National Education Policy 2020 is in fact a strong foundation for New India. This historic Bharat-centric policy, announced after 34 years of the earlier education policy, is much needed to cope with the socio-economic challenges in the country. The approval given by the Union Cabinet to this policy is going to cater to the pressing needs of the education system from school to higher education in India, and will bring about remarkable outcomes. The policy is going to promote Skill India with new scientific and technological advancement in the education system. The policy is fundamental in achieving full human potential and key for economic development, setting up a platform for fostering critical and analytical learning along with creative problem solving among the students. The Ministry of Education will implement this new policy, and it will overhaul the current massive and rigorous educational system into a complete new one with emphasis on the practical aspects of education and learning. The Sustainable Development Goal of the 2030 is based upon “inclusive and equitable quality education so as to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. India has adopted it in year 2015, and to achieve this lofty goal, the entire education system is to be reformed and the New Education Policy 2020 takes it further in this direction.

As we see, India is emerging continuously as the greatest nation in the world. We are proceeding towards becoming a fairer, just, prosperous and educated society. Education is emerging as an important source to reshape and make our nation the most developed, progressive and humanistic society. It is empowering us to empower the world, it is uniting us to unite the world, it is changing us to change the world. It is evolving us as Vishwa Guru to lead the world to become peaceful, tolerant, livable and more human. It is a unique education policy in the world that ensures equality, social justice, empowerment, making progress for achieving a great and cohesive nation. It is unique in the world because it is guiding, managing, leading the largest education system in the world. It has appeared as an education policy that caters to the requirement of the world’s largest education system dealing with diverse forms of communities, population and public.

If we want to improve our health, we can start from improvement of the mind. Because mind and body are intimately related, what happens in the mind influences activities and transformations in the body.

The Vision of the National Education Policy focuses on inculcating a spirit of righteousness with worldly wisdom and advanced skill in Indian Ethos and Culture. The fundamentals of this Education Policy have been divided into Two Separate Verticals such as School Education and Higher Education. NEP 2020 focuses on the following points: Restructuring Education System, Importance to Language Skill (Literacy) and Analytical Skill (Numeracy), Rote Learning to Experiential Learning, Redesigning Evaluation System, Equity, Accessibility and Flexibility, and Developing Employability Skill.

The National Education Policy 2020 has created lots of motivation among the learners, teachers and policy makers to execute and grow. All of them aspire to implement it in its original form, because this country was in need of such policies to develop the millions of youth of this country, physically, mentally, intellectually and professionally to lead a respectable life. The implementation of this policy will not be difficult, because lots of awareness have been created by the leaderships of this country. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has done so through a number of webinars, social media, talks, meetings, speeches, etc. Proper execution of this policy is possible by creating the collaborative opportunities for the academic institutions, sharing of resources, change of regulatory culture by developing self regulatory transparent mechanism, innovation culture at each and every level by building confidence to create and grow, and creating enterprising opportunities to monetise the technological or social innovations through business may drive this country towards the largest Knowledge Economy of the Globe.

(Dr Luis Alvarez is Director of Maharshi European University and Chairman of UMLAC, university based in Caribbean. He is world renowned authority on Vedic Education and has worked with a number of organisations worldwide to propagate Vedic knowledge. Currently he spearheads the movement “Vedas for World Peace” and works in 120 countries.)