By Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank
On 29 July, 2020, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Cabinet approved the world’s largest educational reform and launched the National Educational Policy 2020.
Not only over the last 34 years but after independence, the Indian education system has been eagerly waiting for these reforms. In India, reforms have taken place in all areas except the education sector. To bring India at par with developed countries and make it a five trillion dollar economy, we needed an education system driven by creativity and innovation.
India has the largest education system in the world. Any policy designed for approximately 33 crore students requires careful planning and extensive deliberation. In keeping with cooperative federalism, NEP 2020 was one of the world’s largest ever open innovation led consultation process carried out for a sustained policy reform.
The extensive consultation process with all sections of the country, be they teachers, parents, students or academicians, ensured that the policy was universally accepted and supported by all sections of society. I am honoured and privileged to be a part of this journey under the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister.
I personally received regular inputs and guidance from the Prime Minister to shape the original document into the current Vision Document. I am also grateful to Dr K Kasturirangan, under whose chairmanship the New Education Policy 2020 came out in a better shape.
The Prime Minister’s mandate to live up to the global expectation of creating a “Vishwa Manav” or Global Citizen has always inspired me to put my heart and soul into finalising the NEP 2020.
What makes this policy reform special is the unpredictable uncertainties and challenging consequences arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the whole world was struggling to deal with the Pandemic and its concerns, India initiated this policy reform. This shows the tenacity, clarity of mind and vision of our Prime Minister, who has put all his political capital at stake.
Coming to the salient features, NEP 2020 is Indian in origin, international in its outlook, inclusive in its approach, and innovative and impactful in its outcome. Access, accountability, affordability, equity and quality are five pillars that will form the foundation of our future education ecosystem.
The objective of this policy is to bring about a change in the entire education system and make it accessible to all. It needs to reach all from village to global, from values, knowledge, science to research and innovation. Evolution from the report card to holistic progress card, monochromatic educational institution to multidisciplinary educational institutions, creation of academic bank of credit, and focus on skill and vocational training will ensure that our education system not only keeps pace with the global standards but also goes one step ahead in laying the foundation for fostering “Vishwa Manav”.
Collaboration and synergy of top performing Indian institutions with the best educational centres in the world will help in internationalisation of education. “Study in India – Stay in India” will be the new brand of education that the world will see.
The basic framework of the policy is aimed at identifying talent, nurturing it scientifically and providing adequate opportunities to achieve maximum human potential. Human building is the fundamental parameter of the Indian knowledge system which will be further strengthened by the implementation of the policy.
The amalgamation of talent and technology with world-class research and innovation will pay dividends. The gap between industry and academia will be bridged with skill mapping and vocational training at various levels. Our linguistic diversity will be a force for the holistic development of the young mind. The provision in NEP 2020 to empower regional and Indian languages will enable proper development of all regions.
The policy has well-defined objectives of developing critical thinking, scientific temper and establishing a link between passion and profession. NEP 2020 stands tall with its holistic approach and futuristic framework. I am confident that this policy will lay a strong foundation to make India a global education destination.
This policy was praised not only in India but also in various countries. I remember when the Director General of UNESCO praised this policy as visionary. Mr Rod Smith of the Cambridge University education Press, while appreciating NEP 2020 in all respects, invited me to Cambridge.
The UAE Minister said that he would like to implement several of the recommendations of the NEP-2020 in the UAE. Similarly, many countries have praised NEP-2020 and expressed their desire to implement it in their own country as well. When the whole world and an entire generation are looking at us, we have a moral responsibility to accelerate the implementation.
The Prime Minister has rightly said that ‘this is not the policy of the government, but the policy of every Indian. This policy will fulfill the aspirations of the youth of the country.’
This NEP-2020 is the cornerstone of building a New India, a vision document of India that we plan to develop. It is our collective responsibility to implement this. Achieving this national objective will require all stakeholders to come together.
The Prime Minister has given us a mantra which is ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’. Keeping this mantra in mind, the Ministry of Education has prepared comprehensive action plans for comprehensive implementation for NEP-2020.
A lot of work has been done on the ground in the last one year. Now, the policy is progressing at various stages of its implementation. I am glad that our new Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, is leading education reforms with full commitment and determination.
We have a better education policy, better national leadership, and the nation’s strong will power. We will need to take full advantage of this opportunity to rapidly implement education reforms to provide better opportunities to our younger generations. Let our young generation become a global asset and a national pride.