The New Education Policy 2020 is a very progressive policy and States are free to adapt it according to their requirements, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
“The NEP 2020 is a very progressive policy. It’s a result of so many people putting their minds together and extensive consultations. I am not sure that any policy made in any country has gone through such rigorous consultation as NEP,” said Ms. Sitharaman while addressing a event, marking the release of primers prepared in Kuwi and Desia tribal dialects.
Ms. Sitharaman observed, “A singular feature of the policy is that it is a flexible one. It is not something that Delhi decides and imposes on States. It is a broad framework and then States are left to adapt it according to their requirements.”
The Union Finance Minister’s statement assumes significance at a time when States such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have expressed reservations over the policy saying it was inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ideology.
Emphasis on mother tongue
Noting that the NEP put emphasis on education in the mother tongue or local language, Ms. Sitharaman said, “There is always a discussion on three language policy which most Indian States have agreed to. There are some States which don’t want a third language.”
Speaking on the occasion, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “When I found a disconnect between tribal students and Odia language in Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district, I started consulting others to find an answer. Thus, primers in two tribal dialects were prepared in 100 days.”
“India has 22 Schedule languages. We have decided to gradually facilitate learning in all languages. It is a misconception that only English can help a person grow in the career. Both the Prime Minister and the President of India had not had their primary education in English,” he pointed out.
The Indian government is committed to develop the education system based on the mother tongue, he said.
Dinesh Prasad Saklani, Director of NCERT, said “As per the NEP, all students from the ages of 3 to 8 will get education in the mother tongue or home language. Teachers will be encouraged to adopt a bi-lingual approach with those students whose language could be different from the medium of instruction.”
The NCERT had constituted a committee in the month of April 2023 to prepare two primers in Kuwi and Desia.
“The two books have been tried out in local schools and communities also. This endeavour of Central University Odisha and NCERT is the first of its kind and a step forward in encouraging multilingual learning and learning through mother tongue,” said Mr. Saklani.