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GS-II :

A policy with many a right intention

  • 03 August, 2020

  • 10 Min Read

A policy with many a right intention

Context:

  • The approval of the new National Education Policy by the Union Cabinet.

News:

  • A majority of the path-breaking proposals submitted by the K. Kasturirangan Committee, in the 2019 draft National Education Policy, have been approved while a few important proposals that figured in the draft have been ignored in the final policy.
  • The article notes that the National Education Policy, 2020 though has several innovative and bold proposals, it also makes a few problematic assumptions.

Education as a public good:

  • The NEP, 2020 has statements such as “education is a public good” and “the public education system is the foundation of a vibrant democratic society”.
  • The policy envisages substantial investment in a strong, vibrant public education system.
  • The recognition of education as a public good would have important implications for public policy in planning, providing, and financing education.
  • This would help ensure the state taking initiatives to ensure education for all sections of society. This would ensure accessibility, affordability of quality education for all.
  • Public education contributes immensely to the social, economical, political, cultural and technological growth of the nation.

Holistic education:

  • The NEP 2020 promotes holistic education involving both academic and non-academic spheres, emphasizing even on extra-curricular activities.
  • In school education, a National Assessment Centre will help make assessment and evaluation more holistic.

Early childhood care and education (ECCE):

  • The approval of the 5+3+3+4 system in school education incorporating early childhood care and education and the provision of breakfast in the school meal programme would play a significant role in ensuring better learning outcomes and nutritional security among the children.

Higher education reforms:

  • The reforms proposed in higher education like the inclusion of a multidisciplinary college system offering choices to students from among a variety of subjects from different disciplines, the vision of an integrated higher education system involving the undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels would ensure more industry-oriented education.
  • This can help bridge the skill gap among the job market entrants.
  • The overhauling of the governance structure in higher education with just one regulatory body for the entire sector in the form of Higher Education Commission of India would ensure a light but tight regulation of the higher education sector.
  • The revamping of the University Grants Commission and abolishing of the affiliating system were long due reforms.
  • The policy facilitates selective entry of high-quality foreign universities which could play a significant role in improving the quality of education in India.
  • The NEP 2020 promises to provide higher education free to about 50% of the students (with scholarships and fee waivers) while also aiming to increase the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 50% by 2035.
  • The establishment of a model Multi-Disciplinary Education and Research University in every district would help ensure more inclusivity in the higher education sector.

Language policy:

  • The language policy of the NEP 2020 which states that wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, will be the home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language is a bold step forward which will help reduce elitism and dualism in schools.
  • The NEP 2020 also says the three-language formula will be implemented. The three-language formula will promote national integration.

Issues

  • The NEP, 2020 fails to address the issue of commercialization of education which had been dealt with in the draft policy.
  • The article argues that the policy seems to be based on some untenable basic beliefs and assumptions like the faith in “light but tight” regulation, confidence in the private sector in making honest self-disclosures of all aspects of their operations.
  • While the draft policy promised doubling public expenditure on education to 20% of the total government expenditure from 10%, the 2020 policy simply reaffirms the commitment to allocation of 6% of GDP.
  • The draft policy had recommended setting up of a National Education Commission at the national level and a similar one at the State level.
  • However, there is no mention of State School Education Regulatory Authorities in the 2020 policy.
  • The policy seems to avoid taking bolder moves like the common school system, which would have been a greater equaliser.
  • The article argues that despite the bold reforms envisaged, implementation of these reforms would be the real challenge given the fact that policymakers and administrators have been struggling unsuccessfully with issues like doing away with the affiliating system, ensuring institutional and functional autonomy.

What is Common School system?

  • The word common is more broad than its present meaning in regard to this subject matter.
  • Common school system should mean a system of education where no private school exists and the Govt schools have infrastructure in such manner that the child of every person of the Country studies in the Govt School

Source: TH

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