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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 31st July ’20 | PDF Download

NEW National Education Policy 2020

  • National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) approved by the Cabinet on 29th July
  • Goal: transforming the system to meet the needs of 21st Century India.
  • 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
  • India last framed a national policy on education 34 years ago.
  • The current education policy was drafted in the 1980s. It underwent modifications in 1992.
  • Liberalisation of the economy
  • Digital technology
  • Right To Education Act
  • Our pace of reforms is utterly utterly bad.
  • It has been in the making for nearly 5 years and reports of 2 committees
  • TSR Subramanian Committee in 2016
  • K Kasturirangan Committee last year
  • But it will need ramping up supply dramatically, which government alone can’t do.
  • Given our current demographic profile, the stage of development we are in, and the aspirations of our youth, the new policy has not come a day too soon.
  • It acknowledges the 21st century need for mobility, flexibility, alternate pathways to learning, and self-actualisation
  • Education is a State subject: any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States
  • The Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans.
  • The most interesting change in NEP is the renamed PARAKH.
  • This aims to redesign assessment and standardise the 60 education boards across the country.
  • More cooperation across boards is on the anvil.
  • Lack of resources and capacity
  • Dozens of mother tongues
  • A link language that despite being the global language of choice is alien to most
  • A persistent mismatch between the knowledge and skills imparted and the jobs available have been some of the challenges that have bedeviled our efforts since Independence.
  • Fee regulations exist in some States even now, but the regulatory process is unable to rein in profiteering in the form of unaccounted donations.
  • The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialisation.
  • The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organisation is bound to be resented by States.
  • Similarly, a national body for aptitude tests would have to convince the States of its merits.
  • In structural terms, the NEP’s measures to introduce
  • Early childhood education from age 3
  • Offer school board examinations twice a year to help improve performance
  • Move away from rote learning
  • Raise mathematical skills for everyone
  • Shift to a four-year undergraduate college degree system
  • Create a Higher Education Commission of India
  • Primary schools record shockingly poor literacy and numeracy outcomes
  • Dropout levels in middle and secondary schools are significant
  • Higher education system has generally failed to meet the aspirations for multi-disciplinary programmes
  • The policy also says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction in schools until at least Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language.
  • Most crucially, NEP, once and for all, buries the strident Hindi versus English language debate; instead, it emphasises on making mother tongue, local language or the regional language the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, which is considered the best medium of teaching.
  • There is some ambiguity, which prompted concerns whether this would be at the cost of English language education, but the government has clarified that this is not mandatory.
  • Role of English language should be appreciated.
  • Multilingual felicity could become the USP of the educated Indian
  • Strong desire of parents for English language
  • Another key aspect of school education in the new policy is the breaking of the straitjackets of arts, commerce and science streams in high school, and the laudable goal of introducing vocational courses with internship.
  • How exactly this will be realised is to be worked out, given the penchant of overzealous parents to “stream” their children into professions at the earliest.
  • NEP proposes the extension of the RTE to all children up to the age of 18
  • Early childhood care is crucial for the development of mental faculties.
  • Till now, three to six years age group was uncovered under the school curriculum. The NEP 2020 has covered it.
  • New police recognises that RTE was just about accessibility and not inclined towards learning outcomes.
  • Provision of an energy-filled breakfast, in addition to the nutritious mid-day meal, to help children achieve better learning outcomes.
  • Creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education.
  • There couldn’t be a worthier goal than 50% GER in higher education by 2035, up from the current 26%.
  • NEP really disappoints here by failing to allow for-profit education.
  • On top of this private HEIs are being told to offer more freeships and scholarships – which government institutions should be providing – even as fee caps are proposed.
  • Such overregulation is like poison for the educational ecosystem. In stifling private investment it hurts the students the most.
  • NEP talks about improving foundational literacy and numeracy and underlines the importance of pedagogical and technological interventions to scale down the learning crisis.
  • It  promise of providing greater flexibility and skills to students and greater autonomy to educational institutions
  • Students can choose any subjects, all subjects are equal, and the concept of streams has been disbanded. This truly frees up students to work to their talents rather than to an administrator’s diktat.
  • As for older schoolchildren, they can look forward to the loosening of several rigid barriers such as those between arts and sciences, plus an emphasis on higher-order skills such as critical thinking.
  • In higher education too, it does well to envisage the breaking of boundaries between disciplines and transforming institutions “into large multi-disciplinary universities and colleges”.
  • Importance of classroom
  • There are many other things that NEP gets right, such as the focus on teacher training for schools, the fund for educating girls, and the freedom for university course length, among others.
  • Creating a framework for teachers to only teach and not be co-opted for other duties is good, as is the emphasis on supporting the less able.
  • Technology remains an area of promise, but there is inadequate clarity.
  • Digital divide
  • How exactly this will be realised is to be worked out, given the penchant of overzealous parents to “stream” their children into professions at the earliest.
  • The idea of lower ‘stake’ board exams is very welcome but the requirement for all students to take exams in Grades 3, 5 and 8 is worrying.
  • What is needed is systemic assessment of schools’ ability to deliver suitable learning outcomes, not failure policies that penalise students, and even cause them to exit schooling.
  • NEP 2020 proposes a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits, and multiple exits with certificates, diplomas and degrees.
  • At the apex will be Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities, where research will be supported by a new National Research Foundation.
  • NEP aims to improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035
  • While these are noble goals, increasing GER drastically — almost adding the same number of seats that India has had in the last 70 years in the next 15 years may lead to a focus on quantity rather than quality.
  • The role of our colleges in attaining the ambitious GER target is recognised by empowering them as autonomous degree-granting institutions, and phasing out the affiliated college, a unique Indian beast that is neither fish nor fowl.
  • The huge potential of online pedagogy and learning methodologies for attaining the GER target is recognised and sought to be tapped extensively.
  • NEP 2020 makes a bold prescription to free our schools, colleges and universities from periodicinspections” and place them on the path of self-assessment and voluntary declaration.
  • Transparency, maintaining quality standards and a favourable public perception will become a 24X7 pursuit for the institutions, leading to all-round improvement in their standard.
  • A single, lean body with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation is proposed to provide “light but tight” oversight.
  • In a country still beset by huge inequality and challenges faced by the disadvantaged and disabled, the NEP lays particular emphasis on providing adequate support to ensure that no child is deprived of education, and every challenged child is provided the special support she needs.
  • The long-neglected ancient Indian languages and Indic knowledge systems are also identified for immediate attention.
  • All this requires enormous resources. An ambitious target of public spending at 6% of GDP has been set.
  • While NEP aims to increase public investment in education from the current 4.3% to 6% of GDP, there is no time-frame given.
  • This is certainly a tall order, given the current tax-to-GDP ratio and competing claims on the national exchequer of healthcare, national security and other key sectors.
  • However, resources are never the main roadblock to success in education. If public and political will can be mustered, resources will find their way from both public and private sources.

NEWS

  • India- Mauratius
  • The Prime Minister has hailed India’s special friendship bond with Mauritius and termed it as one which is based on deep rooted cultural linkages.
  • India never commits to any relationship considering the financial implications or profitability.
  • The Prime Minister was speaking  after jointly inaugurating the new Supreme Court building of Mauritius with his Mauritian counterpart Pravind Jugnauth yesterday.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the vision SAGAR which was enunciated by him in 2015.
  • SAGAR, which stands for security and growth for all in the region, is India’s high level articulation towards its vision of participatory developmental works in the Indian Ocean.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Government and people of Mauritius for effective management of containment of the global pandemic in the island country.
  • Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth speaking after the inauguration of the newly constructed Supreme Court building said India has always been helpful in development goals of Mauritius.
  • Jugnauth thanked India for the support towards completion of major developmental projects in the country.
  • The Supreme Court building has been constructed with Indian grant assistance of 30 million US dollars and has been constructed under the India-assisted infrastructure project in the capital city of Port Louis after the outbreak of Coronavirus.
  • External Affairs Ministry has  said the new Supreme Court building in Mauritius is another landmark project completed under India’s development partnership.
  • The Health Ministry has said that COVID-19 recoveries have crossed one-million mark in the country.
  • Officer on Special Duty in Health Ministry said,  recovery rate among COVID-19 patients increased from 7.85 per cent in April to 64.44 per cent at present.
  • The Health Ministry Official said, effective clinical management led to decline in COVID-19 case fatality rate from 3.33 per cent on the 18th of June to 2.21 per cent yesterday.
  • He said, due to enhanced testing infrastructure, on an average 4 lakh 68 thousand 263 COVID-19 tests conducted daily from the 26th to the 30th of July.
  • India has achieved another landmark with more than 6 lakh tests done in 24 hours.
  • In Jharkhand, Chief Minister Hemant Soren has announced to extend the existing Lockdown in the entire state till August 31, in the wake of the increasing number of COVID19 cases detected in the state.
  • No gymnasiums, cinema halls, movie theatres or multiplexes will open in Jharkhand during this period.
  • The Andaman & Nicobar administration has extended the lockdown in containment zones till 31st August while certain activities are still prohibited outside the containment zones in line of the Unlock-3 directives.
  • The schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed. Likewise cinema halls, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, yoga centres and gyms will not operate. Any kind of social, political, cultural and religious gathering is not allowed.
  • The Bihar government has extended the lockdown in urban  areas till the 16 of next month, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to the guidelines issued by the State Home Ministry, there will be additional restrictions, in state headquarters, district headquarters, sub-divisional headquarters, block headquarters and all municipal areas in the state from August 1 to 16.
  • In Delhi, the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients further improved to 89.07 per cent.
  • In Rajasthan, the state government has developed facilities to test 45 thousand samples of COVID per day.
  • The mortality rate has remained less than one percent in the month of July in the state.
  • Andhra Pradesh recorded 10,167  more Covid-19 cases, which is the highest single-day tally, with 70,068 samples tested during the last 24 hours.
  • According to the  state Covid Nodal Officer,  4,618 persons recovered and were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hrs. The state’s death toll rose to 1,281.
  • In Manipur, 47 persons were found COVID-19 positive while 19 persons were discharged from hospitals after recovery in the last 24 hours.
  • In Meghalaya, 19 fresh cases of COVID-19 were detected yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 588.
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has said that  Ganesh mandals located in COVID-19 containment zones in the city will  conduct idol immersions inside their own pandals.
  • World Health Organization has warned that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people letting down their guard.
  • Phase Five of the Vande Bharat Mission is scheduled to start from the first of August.
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said that the new National Education Policy is a major step forward to enhance access to quality education to all the children and youth.
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has expressed grief on the demise of Padma Shri Sonam Tshering Lepcha.
  • In a tweet Mr Naidu said, a renowned personality in folk music and Lepcha culture, Sonam Tshering Lepcha will be missed by all. He expressed condolences to the bereaved family and friends.

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