The Government of India recently released the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the policy brings in a new wave of resurgence into the Indian education system. The policy is aiming to overhaul the current education system in India and is leaning towards the style of education followed by the countries in the west. The draft which was prepared by a panel of experts who were led by the former chief of ISRO K. Kasturirangan aims at making India a global knowledge super power. There are a number of notable policies put forward in the NEP 2020 draft and some of the most important ones are as follows.
- Using public library spaces and the school complexes (after the normal school hours) for ICT-equipped adult education courses as well as other community engagement activities.
- Giving more importance to vocational studies and making students exposed to at least one or several vocations between the grades of six to eight.
- Improving the digital and online education infrastructure in the country to supervise and cater to the needs of both school and higher education.
- Converting the Higher Education Commission of India into an umbrella looking after the entire higher education segment in the country except for medical and legal education.
- Massive financial support to the education sector of the country increasing to 6 percent of GDP from the previous 1.7 percent.
- Importance given to experiential learning throughout the different stages of learning.
This makes up some of the many initiatives and policies set forth by the draft and with NEP 2020, the government has made their intentions clear of steering the countries education sector to a new path which is a welcome sign given the various hurdles that the sector has been facing over the past couple of decades. In this light lets’ make a quick comparison between NEP 2020 and the old education policy of 1986.
For easy comparison, let’s compare these two on the basis of vision, social purpose, and purpose of education.
1) In Terms of Vision: NEP 2020 is focusing on equipping individual students to achieve excellence in the area of their choice. The education policy of 1986 was more geared towards offering standard educational opportunities to all the various social groups in the country so that they could leverage their development opportunities in a similar way. While the old educational policy focused on inclusivity, the NEP 2020 prioritizes on giving specialized education to enrich the lives of their students.
2) The Social Purpose: NEP 2020 focuses on creating special education zones to offer better education opportunities for the students coming from deprived areas and disadvantaged groups. By doing this, the NEP is not only focusing on inclusivity but it also gives ample importance to the economic value of educational training and learning. By emphasizing on skill-based learning, NEP 2020 is ensuring that the students are skilled enough to have a successful professional career. While the old education policy only focused on creating an equal playing field for students across the country, they were unable to take measures to increase the employability of the students.
3) The Purpose of Education: The understanding of the aim of education has changed somewhat over the past couple of decades. While getting the students employed was always a priority, the ideas and levels behind the concept of making the students job-ready have seen a multitude of changes from the 1980s when compared to the present scenario. NEP 2020 focuses more on helping the students to achieve their fullest potential while at the same time strive for the development of the community and nation as a whole. By encouraging the development of critical thinking and analytical learning among the students, NEP 2020 strives to improve the talent pool of the country. At the same time, the education policy of 1986 leaned more towards the holistic development of an individual student and the development of democracy and socialism.
While the old education policy has been a crucial factor in the rise of India over the past decades, it has run its course and with other countries quickly shifting focus to a more industry-oriented education, India has been lagging behind. The NEP 2020 is one positive step towards making India a superpower among world nations by preparing our students for the fast-paced tech-oriented world.