Q) “Discuss the criticism against National Education Policy 2020. Suggest measures to make NEP 2020 work effectively.”
Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent, and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation.
Recently, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The policy is aimed at transforming the Indian education system to meet the needs of the 21st Century.
Critics on NEP 2020
- The policy is a vision document that fails to be inclusive of the bottom-most strata of society and provides little to no relief to the poor, women and caste and religious minorities, as it glosses over key concerns of access to education which have long prevailed.
- There is no comprehensive roadmap and coherent implementation strategy in place to execute this grand vision.
- Many milestones and a commitment to finances necessary to execute this plan aren’t clearly defined.
- There is no clear commitment that can hold the government accountable.
- Though the policy does not compel Three Language formula provision, it is crafted in a manner that leaves little choice and flexibility with the students/teachers/schools. It is also in direct contravention with a Supreme Court Judgement.
- Despite the fact that the centre has clarified that it will not impose any language on any state and the final decision on this will be left to the state itself.
- The NEP 2020 is silent on the RTE Act and universalisation of education will not be achieved without legal backing
- There is no mechanism to link primary and secondary education with the RTE. This is not binding on the centre/state legally.
- There is no commitment towards affirmative action for the socially and economically disadvantaged: The NEP 2020 omits mentioning any policy directive affirming the rights/reservation of SC,ST, OBCs in academic institutions- for students or teachers. It relies heavily on privatising education but there are no alternatives suggested as a way forward for the socially marginalised.
- Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) providing a much broader scope is a move towards a monolithic, homogenised and centralised education system.
- The NEP overall tilts towards centralisation, possibly because the policy is not a derivative of consultation with states, and repeatedly talks about “fragmentation in higher education” as a bad thing.
- Paving the way for increased privatisation: It is argued that the term “public-spirited philanthropic higher education institutes” for private universities, which the NEP 2020 suggests have not been treated equally is infuriating for those who fight against the commodification of education.
- The proposal is to set up HEIs in every district. However, modalities, functioning, operationalities have not been made clear.
- As such institutes will require land and infrastructure and administrative resources to function, NEP 2020 is seen as a straight move towards increased privatisation.
Measures to make NEP 2020 work effectively
- NEP 2020 must consider linking the RTE to the goal of universalisation of education at pre-primary, middle and secondary level. Without this legal backing NEP 2020’s target will remain unmet.
- It must devise a collaborative strategy with states over the three-language formula, as education is a concurrent subject.
- It must make specific, time bound, measurable commitments linked with accountability about funding and expenditure with regard to the grand vision.
- It has to keep children and parents at the centre of implementation plans and provide “choice” not just in letter but also in spirit.
- The policy must also incorporate the Common School System which will ensure equal opportunities for all.
- Currently a robust framework for Foundational Learning has been laid out but metrics of evaluation are missing in the document. These have to be filled in. India can also learn from the examples of Kenya, Brazil and South Africa.
- It has to devise a parallel strategy, relying on non-tech interventions, by leveraging existing networks of school leaders, social enterprises and educators.
The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 make the education system holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, aligned to the needs of the 21st century and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The intent of policy seems to be ideal in many ways but it is the implementation where lies the key to success.