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NEW EDUCATION POLICY FOR NEW INDIA: Is NEP a key to a brighter future?

National University of Law, Punjab 20 May 2020

Swami Vivekananda once said, “Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library. If education is identical with information, the libraries are the greatest sages of the world and encyclopaedias are the greatest Rishis”. India has had a long, integrated, illustrious narrative of  holistic education. The history of education in India commenced with the teaching of long- established elements in centres like Taxila (in modern day Pakistan) and Nalanda (India). At that time, education was seen as a means to acquire moksha or enlightenment. As the society progressed, due to superiority complexes, education was imparted on the basis of caste or the Varna System. Since it is truly said that, “change is inevitable”, this transition has been taking place from times immemorial, even today. The earliest form of education started under the supervision of a “guru” in gurukul -the foremost form of public school.  But all these customary systems existed prior to the British era. Lord Macaulay and Lord William Bentick (the Anglicists) were ardent supporters of western model of education and repudiated their faith on traditional notions of education. They brought huge and influential changes in previously followed patterns of education that were prevailing in the Indian Subcontinent.


This is not only the question of a social issue which encompasses and touches upon the lives of people in the immediate future as well as the years to come. Representing this issue is not an easy task considering the diversity and complexity that India has. What is important to look at is the active transformation scenario through which India is going not only socially but also educationally, economically, industrially, technologically and politically. These multiple dimensions of society have undergone transformation. For example: 25 years ago there was no Internet but now it dominates the lives of people and equally education is influenced more by the technology. As it is evident that the 4th Industrial revolution is around the corner and taking into view the level of advancement in the society, education becomes important as to what a knowledgeable society can give for preparing ourselves for the 4th industrial revolution. India is a developing nation and in every sphere of development is ex facie whether it is in technology and research or educationally and economically. The movement pioneered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi named ‘Sankalp Se Sidhhi’ (achievement through resolve) encapsulates all issues to transform India into New India. The pledge is to build a New India by 2022, an India which is free from corruption, communalism, casteism, illiteracy, poverty through new India Manthan.


As we all can see the extent to which the rote-learning process has affected our education system, a learning crisis is increasingly becoming prevalent among us. Secondly, shackling children in classrooms where they have ceased to learn, in the absence of any change in the teaching-learning process, doesn’t improve learning at any cost until better training is provided to the educator.  In order to facilitate sustainable development, we need to transform the education system of our country. India’s education system has been plagued by a number of problems like incompetent curriculum, deficiency of teachers and many more issues. The lack of practical knowledge in our curriculum is the root cause of such degradation in the quality of education being imparted. Vocational training should constitute a major part of the curriculum so that polished students come out to lend their hands in the development of  our nation. Last but not the least, humanistic and moral values should be inculcated in-depth, that’s how we can achieve one of the best education systems in the world. A holistic approach should be imperative. To address all these issues, it becomes important to draft a proper, well-suited policy in order to transform our long-established system.


The transversal of Right to Education (RTE) in 2009 was a historic step following decades of efforts and hard work. The Unnikrishnan judgement (1993) propelled the demand for education bringing about the 86th amendment in 2002 and introducing the right to education (Article 21A) at par with the right to life and personal liberty which is a big achievement.  On the other hand, the new education policy draft 2019 aims to strengthen the RTE 2009 in many ways:

·       The earlier age for the elementary education according to RTE was 6-14 but in NEP the required age as proposed is 3-18 which is even more appropriate.

·       Efforts have been made for fostering Indian classical languages as it serves twin purposes and aims to promote our customary rules, culture through the study of regional languages, mother tongue also multilingualism has various benefits.

·       The most important thing is research and development which no other act has focused upon but this draft has stressed on the need of practical knowledge and the use of high-quality research which can bring the real change.

·       Another feature of policy is that it facilitates national development in a way that it focuses upon all the aspects of education including institutional changes.


Taking into account the present condition in India, this policy will target accessible education and facilitate it in a very attractive and interesting way. This would prove as a helping hand in imparting the universal elementary education. Newly refined rules and laws will complete the unfulfilled agenda and fill the remaining loopholes. It also holds possibilities for developing a world class education system and a skilled workforce. The hope from this draft is that it will benefit all the young citizens holistically as it will enhance the job opportunities among them and eventually raise their standard of living which will lead to erosion of poverty.


From the above discussion, what can we figure out is that education in India is not what it was years ago i.e. the centre of education for the whole world. The Drain theory proposed by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1901 is not only limited to the economic loss in my opinion but also to causing educational and intellectual loss of wealth to our country. If we compare the education of pre and post British era then we come to know the biggest difference that is overall development of a student has now reduced only to marks. Students are worried only about marks and this is compromising on character building and other aspects of holistic development of a student. On the contrary, earlier a teacher imparted knowledge of every sphere including religion, philosophy, literature, warfare, history. This deviation from our old education system has to be rooted out from the system altogether.

One of the most important points to be noted is the creation of statutes after statutes but not ensuring their implementation in its spirit and intention. That’s why we have a bunch of problems with one leading to another for example, poverty in India is a massive and controversial issue which leads to illiteracy which then results into unemployment which is the root cause and needs urgent attention. This chain reaction  or a constant cycle needs to be broken completely only then can we move further to herald a new age of development and prosperity in India.


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