Applauding the new National Education Policy (NEP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said it reflects the aspiration of 1.3 billion Indians, and will effect systemic reform in “intent and content".
He also talked about the choices this policy offers to students, and how the interdisciplinary learning will get a boost. He said the reform in intent and content will give a push to learning, research and innovation.
“Among the most exciting things of the Policy is the emphasis on inter-disciplinary study. This concept has been gaining popularity. And, rightly so. One size does not fit all. One subject does not define who you are," Modi said.
“This will ensure the focus is on what the student wants to learn. Rather than what the student is expected to do by society. Inter-disciplinary studies gives you control. In the process, it also makes you flexible," he said, while addressing the HRD ministry arranged smart India hackathon, an R&D event of colleges.
Calling 21st century as an “era of knowledge", PM said this is the time for “increasing focus on learning, research, innovation. And this is exactly what India’s National Education Policy, 2020 does."
Modi said the NEP is big on access to education. In higher education, the aim is to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio to 50% by 2035. As of 2018, the latest data for which is available, India’s GER is 26.3%
However, like the HRD Ministry, the prime minister also did not say from which year – the ongoing 2020-21 academic year or the next 2021-22 academic year – the NEP will come into effect. He also did not touch upon, how the government is looking to overhaul the human resource capabilities and efficiency of those who are now manning the education sector at both the centre and state levels for the policy’s effective implementation.
The PM further claimed that the NEP will make education broad-based, promote critical thinking and underlined that NEP is just not a policy document but a reflection of the aspiration of 1.3 billion Indians.
“India’s National Education Policy reflects this spirit. We are shifting from the burden of the school bag, which does not last beyond schools to boon of learning, which helps for life. From simply memorising to critical thinking," he added.
Modi also underlined that while the policy have provisions to make education modern and even welcomes foreign universities to India, it also talks about promotion of local knowledge and push for regional languages as medium of instructions in early school years. He said the top 20 economies in the world offer education in their local languages.
India on Wednesday unveiled its new NEP, the third such policy document post-Independence. The first was adopted in 1968, second in 1986 and the third now in 2020.