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National Education Policy 2020 | Leave no child behind, bridge digital divide

Children attend a tele-learning class at their home in Chennai.

Children attend a tele-learning class at their home in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The closure of schools and universities over the last four months has highlighted the inequities in the Indian education system, with some students able to continue the learning process via online tools, while others being left out. The National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”.

“When we introduce technology, we must ensure that no child is left behind,” said Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare, speaking to presspersons after the Cabinet decision. A dedicated unit to coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building will be created within the Education Ministry to look after the online learning needs of both school and higher education, he said. Teachers will also be given training in online educational methods relevant to the Indian situation in order to help bridge the digital divide.

National Education Policy 2020 | Leave no child behind, bridge digital divide
 

Enrolment ratio

Inclusion is a theme of the Policy beyond technology as well. The NEP emphasises universal access to schools, and aims to bring two crore out-of-school children back into the educational mainstream.

It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, with an additional 3.5 crore new seats.

Watch | Highlights of National Education Policy 2020
 

In order to achieve all this, public financing of education by States and Centre must grow from the current 4.43% of GDP to 6% at least, says the Policy. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.

Regions such as aspirational districts, which have large numbers of students facing economic, social or caste barriers will be designated as ‘Special Educational Zones’, added the Policy.

 

Gender Inclusion Fund

The Centre will also set up a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ to build the country’s capacity to provide equitable quality education to all girls and transgender students.

“The fund will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the Central government critical for assisting female and transgender children in gaining access to education (such as the provisions of sanitation and toilets, bicycles, conditional cash transfers, etc),” said the Policy.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 6:59:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nep-focus-leave-no-child-behind-bridge-digital-divide/article32225887.ece

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