The new National Education Policy (NEP) is the first holistic reform that aims to completely change education of all levels across India – the first of its kind since the Constitution of India was created more than seven decades ago. The NEP can be seen as a continuing of the ideals and principles listed out in the Constitution, as the NEP itself claims to ‘‘build an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged’ in the Constitution’. Lofty goals, however, the changes listed in the NEP, if implemented correctly, have the potential to bring Indian education to global levels and completely reform society.
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020
By Kunal Vasudeva
No child will be left behind
One of the most crucial parts of the NEP is its aim to level the playing field during the formative years. All children will undergo a 3-month long orientation before entering first grade to ensure they are on track with their peers and have a basic level of literacy and numeracy.
A seemingly simple yet crucial step that will give children from disadvantaged backgrounds a fair start to their education. In addition, more focus will be placed on teacher training to help them mentor students, while also allowing community volunteers to participate in teaching – giving students role models and figures they can relate to and learn from.
It shifts from memorization to ‘learning to learn’ – fostering a new generation of thinkers
There’s no secret that parts of Indian education have been about cramming facts and figures – many of which will have no use in adult life. Until now, it’s been about memorizing enough to earn high marks in an increasingly competitive space.
The NEP has set about to change this by promoting a ‘critical thinking’ approach to learning, making students come to their own conclusions after being given facts – and not just providing facts and expecting them to memorize answers.
Earlier many students would first encounter a ‘critical thinking’ approach in their IB board or overseas education – this new ethos will help promote lifelong learning, faster skill adaptation, and a more self-driven and autonomous workforce of professionals.
More focus on Arts subjects and Extra-curricular activities will help create a more diverse society
While just a few years ago there were talks of completely phasing out liberal arts education, the rise in demand for these programs showed that the new generation of learners had different aspirations. Now, the NEP has embraced this demand and is bringing it to all education.
With major changes in higher education, students will now have a ‘major’ and a ‘minor’ – allowing someone with a passion for engineering to still pursue writing and vice versa. This creates a safe and comfortable balance for students to balance their passions with ‘ROI worthy’ education options – with new exit and entry points allowing people to complete, pick up and resume education across their entire life.
With this change, the next few decades will see a rise of more culture and arts-focused professions, and a mindset shift from ‘engineering, law or medicine’ to be able to safely pursue a passion due to their being enough professional paths after graduating to flourish in.
Top foreign universities will now be allowed to operate in India – encouraging international knowledge transfer
While foreign universities have already been offering ‘twinning’ and study abroad programs for years now, they were not allowed to set up their own campuses in India. This meant that it was near impossible for Indian HEIs to attract quality international faculty or students from abroad – instead, it has been a primarily one-way brain drain, and India was losing its best and brightest faculty and students to overseas institutes.
Now, for the first time, foreign institutes will be allowed to operate within the country – as long as they’re in the global top 100. This is fantastic news that will be likely to bring in international faculty and academic experts, allow Indian faculty to work abroad and bring back new expertise with them, as well as encourage a steady foundation of multi-culturalism and global-mindedness within Indian students.
Could the NEP be the key to becoming a global superpower?
Very possibly. The changes laid out in the NEP mirror the educational models of some of the most powerful and developed countries in the world. And now, these processes will be applied to a country that has the largest population in the world. If implemented correctly, it will give children from all parts of society equal footing and a fair start to life. It will encourage students to think, not just repeat. It will offer new educational streams and encourage the pursuit of art and culture.
It is finally opening up India’s doors to the world. If pulled off faithfully, India could be entering its own renaissance in just the next two generations, and build a better India for centuries to come.
Kunal Vasudeva is the Chief Operating Officer at the Indian School of Hospitality. With over 25 years of work experience, Kunal has been at the forefront of some of India’s leading hospitality and hospitality education ventures.
An immersive specialist, Kunal identified opportunities, implemented plans for accelerated growth, and has led the overarching strategy and execution of business on behalf of premier education brands including the Kingfisher Training Academy, The Chopras, and the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne network of certified schools in India.
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