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Taking Forward the National Education Policy

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August 05, 2021

What is the issue?

  • It is one year since the launch of the National Education Policy 2020.
  • For the NEP to move forward, there is need for more robust institutional mechanisms.

How has it performed so far?

  • The NEP is essentially about learning through observation, listening, exploring, experimenting and asking questions.
  • National boards have tried during the Covid year to bring in some changes in classroom transaction.
  • The changes were in relation to well-being, inclusive education, joyful learning, a compilation of best teaching practices, assessment models etc.
  • As a result of schools having closed down, the big shifts did not take place in areas of thematic learning or multiple pedagogical approaches.

What do the new challenges demand?

  • Currently, there are huge learning gaps.
  • Schools cannot be compared to institutions of higher education asneeds of children are more personalised and cannot be addressed only online.
  • With the extension of school closures and fear of infections, children are losing touch with understanding, comprehension, reading and speaking skills.
  • There is a need for effective strategies to physically equip teachers and students.
  • These include better tools in the classroom, increased access to laptops and other gadgets, interactive white boards, and fast and reliable internet access.
  • Technology has not been able to touch the aspects of schools as a reflection of community, time, care and values.
  • Beyond the technological limitations, parents do not have the time or ability to support their children in this venture.
  • Only a fraction of students across the country have moved to online learning.
  • This exposes the deep inequity in the system, and opens up a digital abyss.
  • Students, teachers and other stakeholders are grappling with new technologies.
  • This has led to a fragile learning system with implications for the implementation of the NEP and, in fact, education in general.

What are the changes required?

  • A great deal of capacity building is required.
  • Every stakeholder at the state, district, sub-district, block level has to have ownership and understanding of the concepts.
  • Directorates of education have to be strengthened, for the policy to permeate to the district and zonal level educational clusters.
  • Every teacher at the foundational, primary and middle school level should develop a sense of ownership for transformation to take place.

What is the right policy approach?

  • The NEP is certainly extremely experiential; it cannot be brought in through online devices.
  • Schools have to determine their capacity for restructuring, mobilising teachers, strategizing the operational needs required to navigate their understanding and implementation of the NEP.
  • The state and national boards across the nation will have to start with pilot programmes.
  • Creation of master trainers should be done who will train principals and teachers in urban and rural areas, replicating the model across all schools.
  • For better implementation of the NEP, research, evaluation and documentation is essential.
  • There also has to be coordination and convergence of the policy and programmes connected with it.

 

Source: The Indian Express

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