Global Youth Voice
Xavier's Institute of Social Service

‘National Education Policy must address equity’

New Education Policy

Ranchi: National Education Policy-2020 may not be fool-proof in terms of what Indian education system needs, but the only fact that something new has been introduced after a gap of 34 years  kindles the hope of change for betterment. This was the main essence of discussion that surfaced from the webinar organised by Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), on “New Education Policy, 2020: Challenges and Opportunities ahead” here on July 5, 2021.

Read the Policy Document Here 

Assistant Professor, XISS Dr. Pooja,  extended a warm welcome to Director- XISS, Dr. Fr. Joseph M. Kujur S.J; Assistant Director, XISS, Dr. Pradeep Kerketta S.J. , Faculty Members, Project Officers and students of XISS at the auditorium where other panelists were present virtually.

The session opened with a welcome note delivered by Director, XISS where he expressed his sincere
gratitude to the organizing committee for their tremendous efforts for the webinar. In his address, Dr.Kujur said,

“The efforts of the Union Cabinet are
appreciated for bringing a new, revolutionary policy to the educational scene
after 34 long years. The restructure, revisit and revamp approach and the
sustainable development goals set by the policy will help in responding to the
challenges in education sector of the century.”

The emphasis on vocational training, foundation literacy, and reducing dropouts were thoroughly discussed by Dr.Kujur. Speaking of the challenges, he expressed concerns over the feasibility of using mother tongue as the mode of instruction. He also pointed out the lack of a legally binding time frame for implementation of the policy and expressed doubt over the ambitious goal of increasing higher education from 26 to 53 percent. He also stressed on the absence of Social Justice from the policy terms as well as the provisions for marginalized groups. He concluded that the values of the constitution must be added to the policy.

CSDS point of view on New Education Policy

Dr. Md. SanjeerAlam, from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi while speaking in the webinar discussed the statistics of the colleges and universities across the country and their status. In his presentation he highlighted state of higher education in India, key issues and opportunities and challenges. He stated,

“The current education system is
severely fragmented and the complex nature of nomenclature mentioned in the
policy is not giving a clear picture.”

Furthermore, he discussed about the challenges of the policy which shed light on the unequal distribution of opportunities, access, and increase in dominance of private sector and the structure of the education. Lastly he discussed upon the opportunities and challenges, which are reconstruction of Higher Education Institutions, revamping curriculum/ degree /certification, streamlining governance and the new
regulation regime and improving the funding of the higher education.

Developmental Economists red flag the lacunae of NEP

Prof. Jean Dreze, Economist, Social Scientist and Activist highlighted his concerns regarding the National Education Policy 2020 in a very well structured way, as he drove our attention towards the feasibility of making Higher Educational Institutions – non profitable in nature. He also talked about how the “Equity role of education was missing in the NEP document” and how it might affect the inequality in the education structure.

“The fact that the
curriculum is way too complicated in India for an average student and how it
makes it necessity for the students to get into competitive memorization to
survive, is not helping them to learn

 

like most of the recent laws/policies of the government; the NEP tries to promote centralization of power which is detrimental for the country to grow.

Another Eminent panelist for the webinar, Prof. Dr. Ramesh Sharan of Ranchi University and Ex-Vice Chancellor of Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh, advised the audience to read between the lines to gather a comprehensive understanding of the policy. Speaking about the objectives of higher education, Dr.Sharan said,

“The objective of creating social justice through education has
taken the backstage in this policy. The vagueness of terms while addressing the
underprivileged sections of society is particularly concerning. The increased
political interference should be addressed and autonomy should be provided to
educational institutions, free from political interference.”

The webinar was then followed by a lively Q&A with the audience where Faculty members, Project Officers and other attendees put forth their queries for the panelists to answer. The webinar concluded on a note of discussing the policy in more detail in the future for a better understanding for all.

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