NEP2020 – Schools

Present Education Scenario: (i) Shortage of teachers, weakness in running & supervision of Anganwadis; (ii) Several Government schools (Central, State) are not delivering their mandate to the students, KG-12, and are in a state of decay (Teacher quality, disinterest in teaching, absentees; poor infrastructure & facilities; autonomy); (iii) lack of affordable Quality schools (public/ private) to meet increasing demand; (iv) student: teacher ratio generally about 60:1; (v) large number of drop-outs; (vi) not able to cater adequately to students living in poverty and with uneducated parents; (vii) inadequate school buildings, teaching material, technology; (viii) decreasing financial resources.

Research shows:

  1. 90% of jobs of the future will require:
  2. Digital skills (digital literacy & computational thinking, data analysis, working knowledge of tech-enabled tools & techniques)
  3. Higher-order thinkers (multidisciplinary, holistic & integrative learning)
  4. Lateral & deep thinking
  5. Life and employable skills (social and emotional skills, interpersonal skills, judgement & decision making, leadership)
  6. Practical, physical, and vocational skills & competencies
  7. Cognitive and meta-cognitive skills (creativity and critical & innovative thinking, growth mindset; learning-to-learn skills)
  8. Robot & automation programming
  9. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), 3-D Printing technology
  10. Globalization & broad-band reliable internet connectivity for individual, local, & global networking
  11. Rapid brain development takes place between 2-14yrs of age – Cognitive and Neuroscientists

Let us look at NEP2020 from the above perspectives.

Policy

Policy Formulation and Policy Implementation are two sides of Policy coin. India has always faltered in implementation and badly, primarily because very large number of individuals are involved in the process requiring highest level of integrity, honesty, commitment, accountability, responsibility, and much more. It is a system failure.

NEP2020 policy formulation has elegantly addressed the needs and dreams of 21st century Young India to unleash their creative energies for infinite possibilities, fulfilling most if not all the above requirements. For this purpose, while underscoring high-quality educational opportunities for ages 3-18yrs of all sections of society, especially the have-nots, it recommends holistic & multi-disciplinary education with equal emphasis on Sciences, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (HASS), co-curricular & extra-curricular activities; attainment of foundational literacy; basic and advanced courses in each subject (basic course as minimum requirement); scientific temper and evidence-based thinking; ancient Indian knowledge; blended learning that integrates & optimizes face-to-face and online learning; less content for better understanding and absorption; meticulously trained teachers; credit-based semester system with continuous evaluation; experiential-personalized-individualized learning; student-centric active learning, self-learning, as well as life-long learning; flexibility & student empowerment; best & brightest teachers with attractive compensation & future; different types of assessments for different purposes; Technology use & integration; Total Autonomy; financial commitment of 6% of GDP by 2025, etc., bringing back the joy of learning. The committee could have elaborated more about implementation – how & when (causes, issues, strategy, process, process ownership, time-frames).

Comments & Recommendations:

  1. Teachers should take the following pledge (we require from students): I pledge to strictly adhere to human values and commitment as stated in NEP2020, and will strive to always maintain the highest standards of Quality in teaching, mentoring, assessment of my students.
  2. Education department staff & all those assisting in implementing NEP2020 should undergo a short training program on Human Values and do everything possible to assist in smooth & seamless implementation of NEP2020.
  3. Emphasize minimum competence level in each grade for promotion and for the benefit of students and their future.
  4. Use modern technology & quality online material effectively to supplement classroom teaching & adult education – blended learning & integration. For blended learning, choose from existing successful models that best suit students and teachers.
  5. Financial commitments of 6% GDP by 2025 for education, more at school level (NEP2020).
  6. Seriously consider and establish many more residential schools based on novel schools, such as Navodaya, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Ekalavya, Navsarjan, Vigyan Ashram, Delhi Model schools, new models of school such as Riverside School & Design for Change, all these especially for SC, ST and economically backward community. Also encourage Affordable private schools.
  7. Introduce after-school activities and skills training for students, and illiterate & uneducated adults involving neighborhoods, community qualified volunteers, retired professionals (NEP2020), and engage family and community in the process of educating children.
  8. Encourage and empower local bodies to monitor implementation & sustenance of quality in schools with least interference by Government bodies (State & Centre) in day-to-day management. Give responsibility to women of the community.
  9. Do all that is necessary to get the best out of an individual for better and brighter future through quality teachers, teaching, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, etc.
  10. Invite private Individuals, Foundation-based philanthropy, Education societies, and businesses for a dynamic partnership for creating employable & skilled high school graduates.
  11. We need to provide reliable, stable, high quality, accessible broad-band high speed internet infrastructure and facilities to each and every Indian across all localities throughout India and tablets, laptops, mobiles at affordable costs (each and every student must have access to it).
  12. It would be desirable to get rid of coaching classes that have become necessary evil in India because of our broken education system. Hopefully NEP2020 with its innovative approach towards school education and novel assessment schema will reduce their necessity!

NEP2020 is an excellent progressive, constructive document, which, if implemented to the letter, spirit, and intent of the policy will propel India to a world-class education hub and destination, such as Takshashila, Nalanda, that will attract the best global students & scholars and enrich the institutions and India.