An Introduction to NEP and Covid-19.
It was right about the time, our University had reopened from its two month long winter internship break, that humankind came face to face with yet another Ebola or Zika like virus, the world as we knew then perceived, something ‘Novel’ but nothing to be weary off, capturing a slightly subtlety metamorphosis from its look predecessors, with the lack of infected mosquitoes or complex exchange of blood or bodily fluids, and rather a simple proximity of 6 feet, and so we were introduced to the Corona virus, origins unknown, with a total spread much larger than the silk route or any other gargantuan trade route to have ever existed in the ancient times and even humongous than the rings of the largest exporters in the modern world, engulfing the globe like its favorite toy in the gods playground.
The narrative doesn’t stop here, instead with this first hand shake came the heavy price, gaining weight every single day, escalating from difficult to pay to impossible to pay, secular in the sense, that there are exist no exemptions on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and every individual bearing equal burden, but the focus of this article is not a macro perspective of a micro scenario rather it hopes to bring to lime light, how this mammoth pandemic has affected the backbone, the feet or the brain, of not only India, rather the world, but specifically in India and how the confidant for micro and macro structures, the Government, which though might be running out of money bill both crisp and old owing to the extensive Health sector investments, as is the need of the hour, in a well-positioned master stroke disguised under the name of National Education Policy, 2020, has prevented what could have been otherwise the biggest debacle, recovering from the virus, perhaps for many-many generation to come, without a doubt, our outgoing Education system.
Education is jewel in the crown for achieving highest human potential, developing an equitable and just society and for actualization of the dream of global development. Universal high-quality education is the best way for developing and increasing a nation’s rich and young talent and creating resources for the individual, the society, and the world. India has the largest population of young blood and talent for the next decade and this Education policy will help in creating high-quality of educational opportunities for the young talent of our country.
Refueling Education by Financing: –
The biggest paradox of the outgoing policy is that which can easily be scaled in lack of opportunities, even after fetching 90% marks via-a-via, a decent job. The best possible reason for the said paradox, without swimming in the infinite pool of one’s destiny, is the excessive focus on assessments and examinations, strict textbook learning, without skill development, the quintessential for upward mobility of the humankind, and can finally to the under banking of the sector for all the years one’s imagination can possibly stretch.
The incoming policy has acknowledged the need of higher investment in the field of education and also to create maximum benefits from the investment, in a very profound manner, retaining its socialist characteristics with financial assistance being largely from public sources. To increase the public investment, the policy encapsulates increasing the overall expenditure, Centre and States alike, on education from 10% to 20% within the following decade. The current public expenditure on education has been around 4.43% of GDP, therefore, it aims to increase the public investment in Education sector both Centre and States, will work hand in hand so that education sector solely will able to contribute an all-time high of 6% to GDP. Although it might seem to a reader that this stride of 1.57%, is minuscule it is extremely critical for achieving a much deserved high-quality and balanced education system which is requirement for betterment of India’s future, economic development, social, cultural and growth of technological progress, for if there are continuous leaps in education expenditure in terms of GDP, total government expenditure and per capita expenditure only then it can be said that there is a positive indication of improvement in public spending on Education sector, with two key principles:
- Financing done for the education should be treated as an investment for the development of future of children and not as “expenditure”.
- Education is meant for public welfare and development and not for profit activity and generating enterprise in society.
Implementation of NEP ahead of the virus: –
The most eye catching and a regular talk of the day, 5+3+3+4 structure, provides for a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) right from age 3, aimed at promoting better overall learning, development, and well-being, is undoubtedly the most striking feature coupled with a wide selection of vocational courses, flexibility in subjects and a major stress on mother tongue/local language means of imparting education. But every policy’s effectiveness depends on its implementation, and for the successful implementation of the National Education Policy, the Education Ministry to invite direct teacher based inputs, after all they are the people who best know, the minutes yet critical areas only with which the any education based reform can truly be implemented. Implementation requires multiple initiatives and actions, which can only carry forwarded by multitude of bodies in a systematic manner, so, bodies such as MHRD, CABE, Union and State Government, education- related ministries, and State Departments of Education, Boards, and other regulatory bodies of school and higher education like NCERT, SCERTs and schools have a crucial role to play.
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups: –
With a specific emphasis on “SEDGs” (Socially and economically disadvantaged groups), which can broadly categorized based on gender identities (particularly female and transgender individuals), socio-cultural identities (such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, and minorities), geographical identities (such as students from villages, small towns, and aspirational districts), disabilities (including learning disabilities), and socio-economic conditions (such as migrant communities, low income households, children in vulnerable situations, victims of or children of victims of trafficking, orphans including child beggars in urban areas, and the urban poor), where the enrollments with each successive year only decreases, providing lodging facilities, computation facilities, open schooling are a few of the abundant, targeted reforms to improve and increase the participation of the said ostracized groups is another welcome change, and in our humble opinion a specific improvement of the ‘86 policy red along with 92 POA.
The Modi government approved National Education Policy 2020 (NEP, 2020) aims to terraform India’s education system by 2040, plain and simple. The new policy is also going to rename the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) as the Ministry of Education in lieu to bring a focus back on education and learning. With the sole objective being accessibility, equity, quality, affordability and accountability, the policy believes that the education should develop human beings with reasonable thinking, compassion, courage, wisdom, creative imagination and ethical values.
NEP 2020 is a big revolution, replacing the outgoing policy and envisions bringing much more opportunities and modification to the India Education System. NEP has the potential which will renovate the skills of the future of the country and has all the right tools that needed in today’s competitive world. Such policy will contribute in formulating employment strategies which will ensure sustainability towards an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and will help in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and hence, fills in all the pot holes this encounter with the virus continues to leave behind.
Name- PUSHPRAJ KAHARWAR.