NEP 2020 will transform nation into knowledge based society

Dr Sudershan Kumar
The current twenty first century has been overwhelmed with various upheavals with the world reeling under the devastating effects caused by the pandemic, external aggression, internal conflicts and weather vagaries caused by climate change. The repercussions have been immense and adverse resulting into dwindling economies. The nations worldwide are struggling to revive their economies and also to control the inflation rates which are all time high. This present precarious situation has caused a deep impact on the youths thrusting them into distress. India being part of global consortium has also not remained untouched from this volatile environment. The matters are made more worse as some vested interests for the sake of vote bank and cheap politics are exploiting the young minds rather than addressing the issues at grass root level. Instead of giving constructed suggestions they have started criticizing the government even though Modi led dispensation is working towards eradicating unemployment through its Holistic and Multidimensional policies.These are Skill India, Mudra Bank,Startup India,Stand up India and Make in India.
Besides the Government has also issued instructions to fill ten lakh existing vacancies in various departments. Further to provide impetus to indigenisation and also to make India self sufficient developed nation by 2047 (100th years of independence) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 9th consecutive Independence day address from the ramparts of Red Fort has reminded the people about the inspirational clarion call of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan given by revered Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji, Atal Behari Vajpai ji and also added Jai Anusandhan in that.Through this slogan, he could invoke in Indian minds the importance of Anusandhan (through innovations) for transforming India into global super power by 2047. This is possible only by incorporating radical reforms in the present education system thus nurturing the young minds right from basics.Hence the announcement of New Education Policy 2020 with drastic changes in the pattern of teaching right from Class 1st to class 12th and thereafter in undergraduate, graduate and post graduate level is a significant step to extract best from the young minds. The vision of new education policy is to transform the nation in to a vibrant knowledgeable society by providing high quality education to all in any language of their choice. Then question arises, why we needed reforms in our present education system? Is present education system not able to fulfill the aspirations of youth or it is only acting as a factory for awarding degrees which has no market value. Thus leading to unemployment in majority of the cases. Is there any mismatch between the products which are coming out of universities and the requirement in the industry? To answer these questions one will have to turn the pages of history.
India is believed to have had a functioning of higher education as early as 1000 BC unlike the present day universities/colleges these ancient leading centres (Gurukuls) were primarily concerned with dispensing Vedic education. The modern India education system finds its roots in colonial legacy. The British Government used university system as a tool for cultural colonization of India. These colonization effects in higher education were initially carried out by East India Company, followed by British parliament and later under direct British rule. Also Thomas Babbington Macaulay’s famous controversial Minutes of Education (1835) contributed significantly in introducing English mode of learning. He was of the view that the financial support for traditional education should be reduced. This grant should be used for funding western subjects with English as a medium of instruction. According to him “we must present to do our best to form a class, which may act as a interpreter between us and million whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in opinions in morals and in intellects.
To that class we may leave to refine the vernacular dialects of the country to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from Western nomenclature and to render them by degree fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of population.” British control of Indian education system continued until the Government of India act 1935 that transferred more and more power to provincial politicians and began the indigenisation of education. This period also witnessed a rise in importance of physical and vocational education system as well as basic education system.
At the time of independence of India from British rule (on 15th August, 1947). there were around 24369 students enrolled across the 20 universities and 496 colleges under Government established university education system. Over the years more emphasis was laid on higher education in various disciplines.The education system was also refined time to time with incremental changes. As a result Indian education system after independence expanded at much faster pace. As per 2020 data, there are nearly 1000 universities with break up: 54 central universities 125 Deemed Universities,416 state Universities, 361 private universities and 189 Institutes of National Importance which includes AIIMS, IIMs, IITs, IISERs and NITs. Besides there are around 52627 colleges, 1.5 million schools with 8.5 million teachers and around 850 millions students. These numbers may vary now. Every year these schools, colleges, universities are awarding degrees to lakh of students across the country. But only small percentage of them get the suitable jobs. Remaining students have to move pillar to post in search of jobs because of mismatch between job market (the requirements within industry) and the degree holders. This unhealthy environment brings frustration and distrust among the youth, who pass out every year with great hope ,enthusiasm and aspiration. Therefore the present education system needs total reforms.
I firmly believe that the country will never progress culturally, intellectually, strategically, socially if the mechanism of taking best out the young minds and also bringing out their hidden talent is not evolved along with education system. The need of the hour is of integrated approach for all round development of child from pre primary to secondary and then for their suitability for higher education and research. The increase in dominance of unnecessary and irrelevant sector in any country will weaken the social fabric of society day by day. This will further result into the rise of anti national elements. Subsequently, people holding the virtues of honesty and nationalism would be marginalized and nationalists would be forced to lead a difficult life. Therefore we need to create an environment to groom and promote talented, honest, conscientious social workers and patriotic citizens. This can be achieved by implementing the New Education Policy 2020 in school, colleges and universities. This policy aims to to transfer India’s education by 2030.The aim is to delineate the education imparted to child according to the age of the child.
More thrust on Hindi and other mother languages. One of the major reform in this policy is to replace age old 10 +2 System with with new 5+ 3 +3+4. This is further divided in to foundational stage,preparatory stage, with middle stage and secondary stage. There is a proposal of only three examinations up to 8Th standard followed by 10th and 12th board examination. Also there would be four years, multidisciplinary bachelor’s degree with multiple exits, then post graduation and Doctorate. It is worthwhile to mention here that NEP 2020 says medium of instruction only be in the home language, mother tongue, local language, or original language what ever possible be the medium of instruction/teaching to children minimum up to 5th standard and preferably up to 8th standard. This innovative concept of imparting education to children will not only help in bringing out an inherent hidden talent of each child in a focussed way but also will prove useful in character development, social development and preservation of knowledge and culture. Further through this system the child will gain in depth knowledge in discipline of his choice.
Besides NEP 2020 also focuses on of internationalization with clear goal of making India Global Study Hub.This will certainly open the doors of foreign universities to have campuses in India.It is also a known fact that up to 2030 , India will remain the young nation with median age around 31 years compare to 42 in China and 40 in United States of America and will add many more working age people every year over the next decade that is up to 2040. India will also be leading in providing the work force to world. Therefore from employment point of view the biggest challenge is to train youth for right skill, re skill and semi skill as per requirement within the country and as well for global requirements.
Government of India has formed a task force keeping this aspect in mind. The implementation of NEP-20 in schools through out the country will be first step in this direction.Of course the teachers will also have to go for orientation courses for teaching small children in mother tongue /languages of their choice.This will be a major departure from the present teaching system.The author is of the opinion that major reforms in education system in the form of NEP-20 if implemented in schools, colleges and Universities with true spirit in both rural and urban area will not only groom youth for job oriented courses but will also transform the nation in to knowledge based vibrant society.