The National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP) has seen both strong appreciation and criticism from the different sections of the society. While the document promises to bring major reforms in the education policies of the country after 34 years, it is highly evident that the policy takes students to be the passive receivers. It is not addressing the issues of the students from the grassroots level and also further crippling the disadvantaged.
The root of all criticism
There are multiple points in the NEP 2020 that are seen to be discriminatory and furthering the social gaps from the school level. It promotes inequality in the society with provisions like multiple exits, different language options, vocational training, the glorification of the ancient Indian culture, promotion of only one language, undermining the Right to Education Act, and most significantly replacing the constitutional values with those of vague ideas of ahimsa, seva, sacrifice, swacchta and courtesy. The extremely hurried approach to implement this policy only makes the whole situation worse.
No provisions for the marginalized
The document has no clauses for the reserved class, nor does it talk of the marginalized class of the society. While violence against the Dalits and the Muslims increase, there are no specific ordeals for their education and upliftment. The Tribals who are considered to be an outcast in the society, also continue to be ignored in the policy.
Flaws in the educational discourse
There are major flaws in the pedagogy suggested in the NEP. Firstly, meaningful learning is being challenged by the incorporation of “fun of learning” with the ideas of song and dance, which takes away the gravity from certain subjects.
Secondly, the policymakers have completely misinterpreted the term “load of studies” and instead of decreasing the mental pressure, they have made attempts to mechanically reduce the syllabus, leaving out chunks of useful information, especially from science and history.
Thirdly, the idea of “integrated curriculum” does not work unless the textbook developers and the teachers are on the same page, without omitting any random data. Fourth, the teacher’s assessment can be very vindictive in nature and may come in between the methods of teaching. Lastly, the child must be taught the conflicts of daily life. But when constitutional values are removed from the syllabus, not much can be expected from the curriculum.
What does the Policy Times recommends?
- While the policy is flawed at many levels, its complete disregard for the disadvantaged section is utterly disappointing.
- Promotion of privatization of education is one more aspect which will destroy the dreams of many to afford quality education.
- It is essential to acknowledge and address the fundamental flaws in NEP, instead of hurrying to implement it.
- The NEP 2020 sounds more like a list of work with no plan of action. It needs dedicated deadlines and plans to achieve them.
- The curriculum needs to incorporate practical learning and what the children can learn from their immediate social experience, instead of covering everything in fun and entertainment.