Education is critical for realising one’s full human potential, creating a just and equitable society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to high-quality education is critical to India’s continued rise and global leadership in economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation. Universal high-quality education is the best path for developing and maximising our country’s abundant talents and resources to benefit the individual, society, country, and world. With the rapidly changing employment landscape and global ecosystem, it is more important than ever that children not only learn but also learn how to learn. Thus, education must shift away from content and towards teaching students how to think critically, solve problems, be creative and multidisciplinary, and innovate, adapt, and absorb new material in novel and changing fields.
Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and enjoyable. In addition to science and mathematics, the curriculum should include essential arts and crafts, humanities, games, sports and fitness, languages, literature, culture, and values to develop all aspects and capabilities of learners and make education more well-rounded, useful, and fulfilling to the learner. Education must develop personal and national character, preparing students to be ethical, rational, compassionate, and caring while also preparing them for gainful, fulfilling entrepreneurs or employees.
The current learning outcomes must be bridged by implementing significant reforms that bring the highest quality, equity, and integrity into the system, from early childhood care and education to higher education.
This National Education Policy 2020 by the Modi government is the first education policy of the twenty-first century, and it aims to address our country’s many growing developmental imperatives. This Policy proposes revising and overhauling all aspects of the education structure, including regulation and governance, to create a new system aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st-century education, including SDG4, while building on India’s traditions and value systems. Education policy strongly emphasises the development of each individual’s creative potential. It is based on the principle that education must develop cognitive capacities (literacy and numeracy) and social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.
These elements must be incorporated while keeping the country’s local and global needs in mind and respecting and adhering to its rich diversity and culture. Instilling knowledge of Bharat and its diverse social, cultural, and technological needs, as well as its inimitable artistic, linguistic, and knowledge traditions, as well as its strong ethics, in India’s young people is regarded as critical for purposes of national pride, self-confidence, self-knowledge, cooperation, and integration.
The new education policy aims to develop personal and national character, with a razor-sharp focus on developing research and innovative mindsets, life skills to effectively handle ups and downs in life, leadership qualities, integrated humanity aspects, and entrepreneurial abilities
Why is it urgent and necessary to implement a new education policy?
We face numerous challenges with our younger generation due to Macaulay’s education system, a few of which are listed below:
According to NCRB data, 13,089 students died by suicide in 2021, an increase from 12,526 in 2020. 56.51 per cent were male, while 43.49 per cent were female. According to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau, one student commits suicide in India every hour, with approximately 28 such suicides reported every day (NCRB). According to a Lancet study, India has one of the highest suicide death rates in the world, with a large proportion of adult suicide deaths occurring between the ages of 15 and 29. The government told the Supreme Court that 1.58 crore children aged 10 to 17 are addicted to substances in the country.
According to an NGO survey, 63.6 per cent of patients seeking treatment were introduced to drugs when they were younger than fifteen years old. According to another report, 13.1 per cent of drug and substance abusers in India are under 20. In India, the five most common drugs abused by children are heroin, opium, alcohol, cannabis, and propoxyphene. According to a survey, 21 per cent, 3 per cent, and 0.1 per cent of all alcohol, cannabis, and opium users are under eighteen. A new trend among child drug users is using a cocktail of drugs via injection, often with the same needle, increasing their risk of HIV infection. Children comprised between 0.4 per cent and 4.6 per cent of all treatment seekers in various states.
One in every six children and teenagers aged 10 to 19 suffers from depression. Many children have turned to virtual and virtual worlds to form friendships and interact. Excessive online presence or screen time causes mood swings, irritability, social withdrawal, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, difficulty with attention, focus, and concentration, and further detachment from family or the real world.
Why is it essential to prioritise research and innovation?
China has vigorously pursued innovation and entrepreneurship education to cultivate students’ innovation consciousness and entrepreneurial ability and enable students to adapt to the social situation and meet national economic needs. Unlike employment education, innovation and entrepreneurship education in colleges and universities aims to lay the groundwork for college students’ innovation and entrepreneurship, increase the proportion of college students entrepreneurship, and alleviate China’s employment pressure. Colleges and universities must also cultivate students’ creative and entrepreneurial abilities. China’s economy has grown exponentially as a result of this factor. In contrast, India’s lack of focus due to a poor education system has resulted in poor economic growth over the last 75 years, even though we have a large talent pool.
When students should be developing innovative consciousness, positive traits, developing life skills, and developing entrepreneurial abilities, they are instead turning to a life full of negativity, with no emphasis on developing life skills and innovative consciousness, for one simple reason: The Macaulay’s education system, which we continued even after we gained independence. This education system is primarily responsible for developing mindsets that no one wants and is the most significant impediment to the rational and sustainable growth of society and nation.
Instead of being job creators, most young people have become job seekers, content with shallow job profile that does not match their educational qualifications. The Macaulay education system does not aid in developing life skills but instead promotes negative traits, a slavery mentality, and a lack of focus on character development. As a result, many of our children have turned to drugs, are suffering from mental illnesses, have committed suicide, have violent tendencies, and have lost hope for the future.
The new education policy aims to develop personal and national character, with a razor-sharp focus on developing research and innovative mindsets, life skills to effectively handle ups and downs in life, leadership qualities, integrated humanity aspects, and entrepreneurial abilities.
Each learner’s inner potential must be explored to develop him or her with the proper intent and support. The NEP emphasises this point. A logical, conceptual, and reasoning ability-based education from childhood will easily prepare them to face difficult exams such as JEE, NEET, and NDA. Experiential learning beginning in sixth grade and focusing on research and innovation during graduate courses and multi-skilling development will prepare them to be great entrepreneurs and market prospects.
The emphasis on local languages is a brilliant strategy for preserving great culture and socioeconomic development. If we look at the nations with the highest economic growth, we can see that they prioritise their native languages. The local language and right history will assist them in breaking free from the belief that we are simply “snake charmers” and realising the great history of socioeconomic development, science and technological aspects, and knowledge about life and life force.
When we enter “Amrit Kaal” and want to see our nation as “Vishwaguru” by 2047, we need to join hands in making a collective and unidirectional focus to implement new education policy qualitatively effectively. Political and ideological differences will always exist, but we must put them aside to raise our future generations to the level of development required to improve society, nation, and the world.