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In an attempt to prepare students for future and build a laboratory of new National Education Policy (NEP), the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said the Centre is planning to set up "PM Shri Schools."

While addressing the two-day National Education Minister's Conference in Gujarat, the Education Minister said, "school education is the foundation on which India will become a knowledge-based economy and the National Education Policy (NEP) is a knowledge document that aims to promote all-round development and make education accessible to everyone. We are in the process of establishing 'PM Shri schools' which will be fully equipped to prepare students for the future."

Stating that these state-of-the-art schools will be the "laboratory of NEP 2020," the minister further revealed, "we cannot deprive our new generation from 21st century knowledge and skills. I also encourage and solicit suggestions and feedback from all our states and Union Territories and the entire education ecosystem for creating a futuristic benchmark model in the form of PM Shri schools." The National Education Ministers' Conference began in Gujarat's Gandhinagar on Wednesday with a focus on implementation of the new NEP.

The Education Minister said the 5 3 3 4 approach of the NEP covering pre-school to secondary school, emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE), teacher training and adult education, integration of skill development with school education and prioritising learning in the mother tongue are steps for preparing global citizens of the 21st century.

"The next 25 years are crucial to establish India as a knowledge economy that is committed to global welfare. We all have to collaboratively work together, learn from each other's experiences and successes to make learning more vibrant and take India to greater heights.

"I encourage Education Ministers of all states and Union Territories and also seek active participation from all stakeholders for developing our National Curriculum Framework as well as developing quality e-content for expanding the reach of digital education and for universalising education," Pradhan said.

The minister said best practices in education coming from different states and Union Territories will act as a cumulative force in transforming India's youth as 'Vishwa-Manavs' (global citizens). "The education fraternity can immensely benefit from models of Karnataka, Odisha, Delhi, Meghalaya, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana."

"Today, at a time when we are celebrating Amrit Mahotsav, the National Achievement Survey 2021 has instilled confidence and has reaffirmed the sincere efforts of all our states and Union Territories in improving learning outcomes and in further strengthening access to quality education," he added.

The conference witnessed deliberations on strengthening the education ecosystem in the country with a focus on implementation of National Education Policy 2020, skilling in schools and digital initiatives like NDEAR and NETF.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and Information Technology; Ministers of State for Education Annapurna Devi and Subhash Sarkar; Education Ministers of states and Union Territories and senior officials of the Education Ministry participated in the meeting.

"Experience and knowledge sharing from all state Education Ministers and a structured and outcome-based discussion at the conference today will lead us one step further towards transforming our learning landscape, in line with the NEP 2020," Pradhan said.

He said, "As we prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century, we must leverage technology to strengthen our education and skilling ecosystem."

"Yesterday during our visits, we all got a glimpse of various dimensions of 21st century futuristic education systems. From education being an exclusive responsibility of states to education becoming a part of the concurrent list, our education system has witnessed many reforms," the minister said.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan launched by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001, Samagra Shiksha and other reforms have positively impacted education, he said.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel stated that the new education policy has been introduced after realizing the need to constantly redefine and redesign the teaching and learning processes.

(With inputs from agencies)

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