New education policy aims to achieve twin objectives of inclusion, excellence: President

NEW DELHI, Sept 19: The new National Education Policy (NEP) aims to reorient the education system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century by achieving the twin objectives of inclusion and excellence, President Ram Nath Kovind said Saturday.
Addressing the Visitors’ Conference on ‘Implementation of National Education Policy 2020 in Higher Education’, the President said the policy sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all.
“Higher education institutions have greater responsibility of making India a global knowledge superpower. The quality standards set as benchmark by these institutions would be followed by other institutions,” the President said.
He said the fundamental principles of the new policy include inculcating creativity and critical thinking in order to encourage logical decision-making and innovation.
“The NEP also seeks to encourage critical thinking and spirit of enquiry. Effective implementation of the policy is likely to restore India’s glory as a great centre of learning as during the times of Takshashila and Nalanda,” he said.
Drawing inspiration from the “Bhagvad Gita” and the Krishna-Arjun dialogue, the President reiterated the concept of free communication and discussion between the teacher and the student.
“The National Education Policy aims to reorient the education system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century by achieving the twin objectives of inclusion and excellence. It sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all,” he said.
Listing the features of the new policy, Kovind said that it would also introduce the system of academic bank of credits.
“It would digitally store the academic credits earned from various higher education institutions so that degrees can be awarded, taking into account the credits earned by students. This would allow students the freedom to take courses as per their vocational, professional or intellectual requirements in addition to giving flexibility of suitable exit and re-entry points,” he said.
“The need for strict monitoring of B.Ed., vocational and distance-learning courses is also being taken care of in this policy,” he added.
Noting that the target of the NEP is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER in higher education to 50 percent by 2035, the President observed that the online system of education can also be utilised to reach this target, especially in catering to the female students or those who do not have physical access to educational institutions as well as international students.
Citing statistics, the President added that according to All India Survey of Higher Education for 2018-19, the GER for females is slightly higher than that for males.
However, the share of female students is extremely low in institutions of national importance and particularly low in technical education, he said.
“Such gender disparity in higher education should be corrected. It would be the role of head of institutions that would have an impact on the teachers and students and hence the heads of organizations should take active interest in implementing the policy,” Kovind said.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ expressed hope that the new education policy would decentralise and strengthen the country’s education system.
“The focus is to improve the quality of education standards in our country,” he said, adding the policy has given access to foreign universities to open campuses in India and vice-versa which will be instrumental in the process of making India a soft power.
“All hurdles in the process of implementation of NEP should be overcome and dialogue should be established with all stakeholders. The support of all sections is imperative in brainstorming about the implementing process,” he said.
Vice Chancellors of all Central Universities and Directors of IITs, NITs and other institutions participated in the conference.
The NEP approved by the Union Cabinet in July replaces the National Policy on Education framed in 1986 and is aimed at paving the way for “transformational reforms” in schools and higher education systems to make India a “global knowledge superpower”. (PTI)