The National Education Policy 2020 brought about a paradigm shift in the existing education system and has clearly moved towards the Bhartiya narrative as compared to the colonial one which was in existence for decades. One of the key aspects of the NEP is that it focuses on the Bhartiya knowledge tradition, and provides greater flexibility to the students in choosing the subjects which they want to study. This paves way for a multidisciplinary approach and subjects will be taught by adopting experiential and innovative methods.
Why was it imperative to have a NEP?
The pre-NEP system primarily was built upon the Macaulay’s education system which was inherited by the British colonial legacy. One of the major adverse impacts of this system was that it led the youth towards imbibing western values and they got disconnected with their roots of our rich glorious past and cultural heritage. Moreover, the rigid system of education led to decline in the enrolment rate both at the school level and at college level. Also, a conscious effort was made to promote English Language and keep the youth away from knowing our regional or Bharatiya languages.
Another reason why NEP is essential is because the old education system did not give the much needed space to our scholars like Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Chanakya, Patanjali, Aurobindo Ghosh, Swami Vivekananda. On the NEP 2020, Raghvendra P Tiwari,Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda had said that the policy, “provides us “a new roadmap for reclaiming, re-articulating, and restructuring the Bhartiya self for becoming a Vishwaguru (global leader), where equity, equality, and fraternity will be celebrated.”
Multiple Exit and Entry Options
Prior to the introduction of the NEP 2020, there was rigidity in the system so much so that it was a herculean task for the student to undertake intra level migration while pursuing a particular programme. Moreover, if a student completed two years of undergraduate programme and was not able to complete the third year due to some unavoidable circumstances, then in such a case he would not be awarded a degree and it would be a wasted effort. However, the New Education Policy 2020, removed these hurdles and developed a mechanism wherein the student had multiple entry and exit options. Also, flexible and imaginative curricular structure has paved the way for a multidisciplinary approach.
Dr Arti Kanaujia, who is a professor, Department of Education, Shashi Bhushan Balika Vidyalaya Degree College (Associated with Lucknow University) hailed the NEP for the multiple exit and entry options as it would not result in wastage of time, energy and money of the students as they would be awarded a certificate or a diploma depending upon the level at which they left the undergraduate programme.
Similar point was reiterated by Swadesh Singh, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. He said, “Owing to multiple levels of entry and exit options, there is no wastage of time and the four years of graduation programme is a holistic programme.
Flexible Career Options & Skill Development
The New Education Policy has surely laid a roadmap for skill development with special focus on critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It also prepares them to meet the continuously evolving labour market. Speaking on the issue of flexible career options, Director of Indian Institute of Management, Indore, Dr Himanshu Rai stated, “The NEP offers flexible career options by promoting multidisciplinary education and institutional autonomy. It encourages the integration of vocational training, allowing students to explore diverse fields and acquire practical skills. For example, a student interested in environmental sustainability can study a combination of environmental science, policy, and entrepreneurship, opening up opportunities in environmental consulting, sustainable development, or co-entrepreneurship.”
“NEP 2020 provides us a new roadmap for reclaiming, re-articulating, and restructuring the Bhartiya self for becoming a Vishwaguru, where equity, equality, and fraternity will be celebrated.” -M Raghvendra P Tiwari, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda
If we look at the NEP 2020, one can clearly see that the objective of the policy is to provide the students with various opportunities so that they could enhance their skills and do what they are passionate about and at the same time enjoy it. On being asked about the flexible career option which NEP 2020 provides, Prof Niranjan Kumar, Chairman, Value Addition Courses Committee & Dean of Planning, University of Delhi said, “The Flexible career option is in fact inbuilt through the road of NEP where a new type of academic curriculum itself is going to be very flexible and now there will be no compartmentalisation of stream. Students from science can study courses from commerce and arts. Similarly we know Biology can be taken as a major and psychology as minor and vice versa.”
Prior to the NEP 2020, the choice of subjects was limited and confined to few institutions and colleges. Prof Niranjan said, “In India, all across the country, students will get to study a variety of subjects which in the past were not even thought of.”
If one looks at the NEP 2020, one will realise that the primary objective is to revive our rich ancient education system wherein from rich to poor, everyone learnt all the skills. Moreover, the focus of this new policy is to develop job givers and not just job seekers.
NEP will develop job givers not job seekers
On the issue of skill development, Dr Niranjan opined, “In the past we followed the Macaulay model and it was more bookish and not based on real life challenges.” Highlighting the importance of the traditional education system that was followed in ancient times, Dr Niranjan said, “In ancient India, our traditional education system was based on real life situations and was more based on applications rather than on theory. The Gurukul Paramara is one such example where the prince was involved in various kinds of activities and practical learning such as agriculture, maintenance of the ashrams, bringing forest products or other manual or labour oriented work apart from the ‘shastr’ and the ‘shastra vidya.’ We know the stories associated with Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Our Holy Book Gita also emphasises ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste’ where one aspect focuses on application based learning.”
Swami Tulsidas also has spoken about “Karma Pradhan Vishva Rachi Rakha.’ NEP is very particular about vocational training from school to higher level. Skill based education will be implemented.
In DU a number of courses have been introduced related to vocational studies and they are also known as “Skill Enhancement Courses.”
Dr Niranjan highlighted the importance of the skills and internship. He stated, “These skills are not mere informal training and are credit courses for which the students will be credited and it will be part of their marksheet and degree. Also, there is a component of internship, entrepreneurship and apprenticeship. Till now barring engineering, medical, law or media, internship programmes were not part of the traditional education system. Now internship will be part of the formal education system and there will be grades for that. “
The traditional education system was producing job seekers. Now, NEP 2020 emphasises or envisions a situation where we will be creating job givers.
Advantages of Studying in Regional Language
One of the biggest changes which the NEP 2020 has brought about is that subjects can be taught in regional languages. This change has been hailed by the students. Laghima Prasad, who is an undergraduate student at Awadh Girls Degree college, Lucknow is of the view that studying in regional language will help the students to get a better understanding of the subject and one is likely to excel. In some of the colleges in South India, this practice has been executed and professional courses are now being taught in the regional language.
NEP 2020 – Steady Progress Towards a Brighter Future
The National Education Policy 2020 is a clear reflection of Swami Vivekanand’s vision, who stressed on the need to have an education system which is an amalgamation of traditional and modern scientific knowledge. We must remember that India is a land of world famous Taxila and Nalanda Universities and with the implementation of NEP 2020, once again India will be the hub and leader in the field of higher education. A broad spectrum of students from various social and economic backgrounds will benefit from NEP2020 as the policy embodies the last mile delivery. However, the success of NEP will depend to a large extent on the role that is played by all the segments of the society as its successful execution will result in our Indian students being able to make a mark at the global arena and also make substantial contribution towards the growth of “New India”