When the new National Education Policy was launched on 29th July 2020, it replaced the 36-year old National Policy on Education which was being followed since 1986. A lot has changed in these 3 decades especially in India’s social, economic and political landscapes, which has given rise to myriad opportunities and challenges. It was high time that our education sector took cognizance of these changes.
NEP 2020 does that superbly well. It places students at the centre of the educational ecosystem with wide ranging initiatives to support and fulfil their academic needs, aligning them with the current trajectory of the globally-connected digital-first world of today.
After two years of release of the NEP document, multiple efforts are being directed in pursuance of the guidelines mentioned in the policy.
While we all have access to the NEP 2020 directives and guidelines, little do we know about the thought and purpose behind those guidelines. What led to the creation of NEP 2020? What was the vision behind designing such a transformational policy in Indian education?
These were some of the questions we had on our mind. To implement any change successfully, it’s important that all stakeholders understand the reasons behind the change. With the implementation of NEP 2020 underway at many levels throughout the country, this knowledge will help us better understand the guidelines enabling us to form clear, tangible goals as well as map out plans to achieve them.
This led us to the webinar NEP 2020: The Thought Behind where we invited the Chairman of the NEP 2020 Drafting Committee, Padma Vibhushan Dr. K Kasturirangan to share with us his vision and reasoning when drafting NEP 2020. The session was moderated by DD National anchor and education expert, Prof. Puneet Sharma.
You can check out the complete recording of the session on our YouTube channel, and experience the childlike enthusiasm of the chief architect of NEP 2020, Dr. Kasturirangan, who had a long, impressive list of accomplishments to his name before he was tasked with transforming Indian education.
In this article, we’ll share a few highlights from the session that explored the scientific, technological and social aspects that were deliberated during the creation of NEP 2020.
Restructuring School Education, Making Way for Holistic Learning
When NEP 2020 was released, it made a lot of waves among our society because of its sharp shift from the existing 10 + 2 school education model.
NEP prescribed a new model for school education which is the 4 stage 5+3+3+4 model. Here’s how it’s structured.
|1||3 Years of Pre-school, Grade 1 and 2||3 to 8 Years||Flexible and Play-based Learning|
|2||Grade 3, 4, 5||8 to 11 Years||Discovery and Activity-based Learning, Formal Interactive Classroom Learning|
|3||Grade 6, 7, 8||11 to 14 Years||Introduction of Subjects, Learning and Discussion of key Abstract Concepts|
|4||Grade 9, 10, 11, 12||14 to 18 Years||Multi-disciplinary Learning (Flexibility of choosing subjects that nurture Analytical Thinking)|
The design of this new educational structure proposed by NEP is predicated on the developmental, cognitive and educational psychology and pedagogical models that are in line with the critical developmental stages of a child. The four stages are rooted in Perceptual, Conceptual, Descriptive and Abstractive learning approaches respectively.
The integrative and holistic curriculum prescribed by NEP gives equal importance to science, mathematics, social science, visual and performing arts, languages and sports paving way to all-round growth and development of a child.
NEP 2020 emphasises on 3 pillars:
- Experiential learning
- Analysis & Reflection
- Values and Life Skills
This, we believe will play a big role in narrowing the gap between the academia and life.
“Multi-linguicism is a necessity for India”
There’s much bias in India for those who can write and speak in English. Despite the fact that only 15% of Indians speak English, higher education in every college of India is imparted in English. NEP 2020 aims at correcting this imbalance.
Various studies and reports have shown that learning acquired in mother tongue is permanent. This is further reinstated by the success stories of countries such as Germany, Korea, China and Russia, where the mother tongue is the only language spoken.
According to Dr. Kasturirangan, language is an element of expression of an individual and society which is indicative of the collective continuity of culture. It is a mediator or cognitive and social capabilities. Language cannot and should not be the basis of status.
He goes on to add that children between 2 and 8 have extremely flexible capacity to learn multiple languages that has to be harnessed. Therefore, NEP makes provision for teaching in mother tongue or regional languages for children under 8 years. Classrooms in new India will be flexible and multi-lingual with multi-lingual teaching-learning materials. We echo Dr. Kasturirangan’s words when he says that a multi-lingual India is better educated and nationally integrated.
64 Kalas Make an Educated Man
Yet another important proposition of NEP 2020 is multi-disciplinary education. The world needs individuals that have a broad spectrum of knowledge and foundational capability with deep specialised skills. This is an essential component towards holistic development while attaining rigorous specialisation in one’s chosen discipline.
Taking inspiration from Banabhatta’s novel Kadambari which describes good education as that which comprises 64 Kalas or disciplines, NEP states that multi-disciplinary education is a way to meet today’s needs of society and industries.
Linearity in thoughts, skills and talents isn’t ideal for today’s world. It won’t impart knowledge that lead to innovation and creativity. We need to nurture lateral thinking among our youth to develop creative problem solving abilities connecting the different dots to address the complexity of the world we live in. Multi-disciplinary learning will play a crucial role in fostering a culture of innovation, which has the potential to make growth possible across different sectors and industries at scale.
Implementing Educational Transformation
The above mentioned are few of the many propositions of NEP that reflect the emerging reality of the technological, developmental, social and political changes India has witnessed since the old education policy was rolled out 3 decades ago.
Under the able leadership of our PM, Ministry of Education, educational leaders and academicians, as well as with eager participation from faculty and students, institutes across India’s geography is all set to redefine and reimagine the way we impart education to India’s future generation.
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