Education is one of the most important matters that build up a nation’s backbone, and as such, it is a primary subject of discussion of any government. From time to time, the strategies of how education should go in the country need to be revised; and that is how the National Education Policy came to be.
The Government of India has formulated the NEP or National Education Policy as a means and strategy to regulate, promote, and support education throughout the nation of India. The scope of the policy covers everything from elementary grades to higher education levels, and is applicable to both urban and rural areas.
So far, there have been three iterations of the NEP education policy. For the first time, PM India Gandhi implemented the National Education Policy 1968; then PM Rajiv Gandhi brought about the National Education Policy 1986; finally, PM Narendra Modi created the National Education Policy 2020.
Based on the Kothari Commission report, prime minister Indira Gandhi brought in the first radical change in education in India in the form of NEP 1968. It had the following ambitions:
The Rajiv Gandhi government introduced a new and improved education policy as NEP 1986, with emphasis on equalizing education among all, especially with women and SC/ST people. It covered the following points:
Note that the PV Narasimha Rao government brought some changes to this policy in 1992 and the UPA government changed it further in 2005.
In 2019 the Ministry of Human Resource Development under the Modi Sarkar has drafted a New Education Policy 2019, after a lot of public sector consultations. This new policy aims to improve critical thinking and discussion and analysis-based learning in children of India. It also proposes a redistribution of the old 10+2 system into a 5+3+3+4 system to enhance the cognitive learning ability of the students. The policy was approved in 2020 and hence NEP 2020 was born, which after various revisions may be enforced by 2026.
The vision of the New Education Policy 2020 is to implement an India-centric education system that enables our great nation into being a powerhouse of knowledge and innovation sustainably by providing high-quality education to all levels of society, bar none. The policy wants to reflect lots of sizable changes in our present educational system and expects to raise state expenditure on education up to 6%.
India is fast becoming a global leader in information technology and communications. As such, the National Education Policy 2020 campaign is highly geared towards embedding modern technologies into standard education. It is now understood that the relationship between education and technology flows both ways, and so the need to integrate modern innovations into the learning process is more important than ever.
The NEP 2020 visualizes a near future where tech-savvy teachers will bring up a generation of modern, enlightened, and world-compatible students. The general life tomorrow will be highly influenced by multiple technologies in a myriad of ways, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, IoT, smart boards, handheld computers, blockchains, and a lot more. As such, it is the duty of this generation to make sure the next generations are not left in the dark about these matters.
When the National Education Policy was created for the first time in 1968, or even when it was revised for the first time in 1986 ‒ we had no idea about the huge effect the internet will bring to pretty much everything, not only the education sector. Now that we’ve seen that, what about smartphones? What about something that may come right the next day, without us having the slightest idea today? For this reason, special bodies will be set up just to monitor the technological edge and recommend modifications to the system accordingly.
So, what does all that mean for hands-on education in India? Indubitably, tomorrow's school syllabuses will expand to include much more than just basic sciences and arts. Computer classes are already the norm in many schools ‒ it's valid to suppose they will soon open doors to other technologies like AI, drones, robotics, space science, etc. All these subjects have very little theory at the lower level and lots of practical learning scope. For example, it’s almost impossible to teach robotics without having some sort of moving part in your hands.
Even conventional text-based subjects are fast becoming more and more dependent on practical work. Take a subject like geography ‒ in our childhood, a student could have done a master's in it without ever touching a rock or seeing a river. But nowadays, the new education policy highly dislikes that sort of theory-only learning. Even in arts subjects, there can be a lot of practical works.
At the same time, at the grassroots levels with young kids, the nature of learning shall change as well. Instead of relying on conventional teaching, alternative and holistic approaches are being considered more. Activity-based learning is going to take a front seat, making learning fun again for little kids. To that end, science parks , math parks , and social science parks come to mind.
Soon, more and more schoolhouses will be so much more than just a bunch of classrooms. There will be grand laboratories and activity areas taking up most of the space. The school grounds will be adorned with interactive learning parks and models. Children will spend more time working with their hands than just reading from books. Night classes will be a thing now, with astronomy and space sciences the degrees of the near future.
All of this, of course, will need a lot of infrastructures. And innovative, fast-adapting laboratory equipment and lab furniture manufacturing companies like Labkafe are uniquely positioned to quench the thirst of the future schools under the National Education Policy. With technologies changing as fast as they are, we can expect more revisions coming soon. And we shall be ready to meet the new requirements, as the world witnesses.
(Image Courtesy: Pixabay, Pexels)
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