PM terms NEP a policy of the people, not of a govt amid criticism

There is a healthy debate around the policy and it is crucial, said PM Narendra Modi in his address to governors’ conference on NEP

Prashant K. Nanda
Updated8 Sep 2020, 08:23 AM IST
Photo: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached out to critics, including the political Opposition, and said the recently unveiled National Education Policy (NEP) is one of the country, irrespective of the government in power.

“This policy is not the education policy of the government. This is a policy of the country. The way defence and foreign policies are of the country, exactly like that, this education policy is of the country,” Modi said in Hindi at the governors and vice-chancellors conference.

The statement comes against the backdrop of strident criticism of the policy from not only opposition parties but also critics outside the political arena.

The policy is ambitious and overly centralized, according to critics. The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress have said that NEP promotes centralization of education and does not address the practicality and funding issues involved in implementing it.

However, the Left parties have been most vocal in their criticism and claimed the NEP is an attempt at greater centralization, communalization and commercialization, which will destroy the education system of the country.

Modi on Monday said the education policy is “attached to the aspirations of people and millions of students”. Questions around education administration, use of local language, role of libraries, curriculum design and adaptability of faculties to a new system are important and there should be constant and collective endeavour to address them and implement the policy effectively. When there is reform in a sector it is natural to have questions, Modi said. There is a healthy debate on the policy and that it is necessary. The suggestions of all stakeholders are being heard with an open mind to resolve apprehensions, he said.

Modi also claimed that the policy puts the focus on critical thinking, learning outcome, practicality and performance.

President Ram Nath Kovind said education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and the states and Centre should cooperate with each other for its implementation. “Governors being chancellors of state universities have a crucial role to play in the implementation of NEP. There are some 400 state universities with about 40,000 colleges affiliated to them. Hence, it is imperative to establish coordination and dialogue with these universities,” he said.

India spends around 0.7% of its gross domestic product on research and innovation while the figure is 2.8% in the US, 4.2% in South Korea, and 4.3% in Israel, the President said. “To give impetus to a large and vibrant economy like India, it is necessary to encourage knowledge creation and research. The central and state governments will have to increase the percentage of investment in research and innovation,” Kovind said.

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First Published:8 Sep 2020, 08:23 AM IST
HomeEducationnewsPM terms NEP a policy of the people, not of a govt amid criticism

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