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NEP lays foundation for ‘New India’, shifting away from ‘herd mentality’, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi as speaks during a conclave on higher education via video conferencing, in New Delhi, Friday, Aug 7, 2020. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (2nd R, top row) is also seen.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi as speaks during a conclave on higher education via video conferencing, in New Delhi, Friday, Aug 7, 2020. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (2nd R, top row) is also seen.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 laid the foundation for a ‘New India’ of the 21st century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, emphasising the shift from rote learning and “herd mentality” to creative and innovative thinking.

Addressing a conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under the NEP, he said there had been no major changes in the education system for many years, resulting in the promotion of a “herd mentality” in Indian society instead of the values of curiosity and imagination. “So far, the focus has been on ‘what to think’. The NEP emphasises a shift in approach to focus on ‘how to think’ instead,” he said via videoconference.

 

“In these times, there is no dearth of information and content, which is available on every mobile phone. But it is important that we know which information is necessary,” he stated and called for modes of teaching based on inquiry, discovery and analysis, which would encourage students to participate in the classroom learning process out of their own interest.

 

The conclave is being hosted by the Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

‘Mission mode’ implementation

The NEP would be implemented in a “mission mode”, said Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

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

Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said similar webinars would be held in every State over the next two months so that the process of implementation was decentralised. By September-end, there would be a complete strategy, road map and determination of resource allocation for State-wise implementation, he added.

 

The NEP’s focus on employability and vocational education will start being implemented immediately through undergraduate degrees with embedded internships and apprenticeships. The UGC released guidelines for such degree programmes at the conclave, saying that a minimum of one semester could be spent at the workplace.

Claiming that there was no bias in the policy, the Prime Minister welcomed the “healthy debate” that was on across the country over various aspects of the NEP. One area in which there were extreme divergent views was autonomy, where one approach was to emphasise government regulation coupled with a mistrust of non-governmental players, while the other was to assume an entitlement of autonomy. The future of quality education lay midway between these schools of thought, with greater freedom and autonomy to be offered as a reward to institutions providing better quality education, providing an incentive for improvement, he noted.

 

Another area of debate he touched upon was on using the mother tongue as the medium of instruction until Class 5. This approach was necessary to make global citizens who were rooted in their culture, he said.

Rigorous consultations done before framing new National Education Policy, says Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank

 

Mr. Modi also pointed to the NEP’s move allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in India as a way to retain talent in the country. The multiple entry and exit options for undergraduate degrees, and the holistic, multidisciplinary approach that replaced the rigid stream system would result in a workforce geared for modern times, with the necessary flexibility for upskilling and reskilling, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 8:38:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nep-focusses-on-how-to-think-pm-modi/article32292140.ece

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