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National Education Policy sets vision of equitable & vibrant knowledge society, says Kovind
New Delhi, September 19, 2020
The 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 today.
Delivering the inaugural address at the Visitors’ Conference on "Implementation of National Education Policy 2020 in Higher Education", the President said it sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all.
Appreciating the efforts of the Education Ministry and Dr K. Kasturirangan and his team, who prepared the policy, he noted that the policy was prepared after extensive consultation with 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, more than 12,500 local bodies and about 675 districts generating more than two lakh suggestions, thereby reflecting a ground-level understanding.
Encouraging institutions of higher education, he observed that they have a greater responsibility of making India a global knowledge superpower. The quality standards set as a benchmark by these institutions would be followed by other institutions.
He emphasized that the fundamental principles of the Policy include creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation. The President also drew inspiration from the Bhagvad Gita and the Krishna-Arjun dialogue while reiterating the concept of free communication and discussion between the teacher and the student.
The NEP also seeks to encourage critical thinking and spirit of enquiry. He opined that effective implementation of the NEP 2020 is likely to restore India’s glory as a great centre of learning as during the times of Takshashila and Nalanda.
Describing the novel features of NEP, Kovinds said 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.
The need for strict monitoring of B.Ed., vocational and distance-learning courses is also being taken care of in this policy, he added.
The President also highlighted that the target of the NEP 2020 was to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50 % by 2035. He observed that the online system of education can also be utilized 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 the international students.
Citing statistics, he added that according to All India Survey of Higher Education for 2018-19, GER for females was slightly higher than that for males. However, the share of female students is extremely low in Institutions of National Importance and particularly in technical education.
Emphasizing that the NEP has focused on equity and inclusion, he said such gender disparity in higher education should be corrected.
The President also observed that it would be the role of head of institutions that would have an impact on the teachers and students. Thus, the heads of organizations should take an active interest in implementing the policy.
In his opening remarks, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said education formed the basis of progress for any society. It was not only the constitutional but moral responsibility of the government to implement a robust education policy.
He expressed the hope that the NEP 2020 would be able to decentralize and strengthen the education system. The Minister also referred to the Governors’ Conference held on the same subject under the guidance of the President on September 7.
This 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, he added.
The Minister called for the removal of all hurdles in the process of implementation of NEP and dialogue should be established with all stakeholders.
He requested the Vice-Chancellors and Heads of Institutions to take the policy to the maximum number of people. The support of all sections was imperative in the implementation process.
Synergy from all institutions, academia and the students will be helpful for expeditious implementation of NEP 2020, he added.
The conference saw the participation of Vice-Chancellors of all Central Universities and Directors of IITs, NITs and SPAs.