By Ganesh Bhatt
New Delhi, Aug 1 : The Modi government came out with the New Education Policy 2020, replacing a 34-year-old national policy on education. Under the new policy, students will get a chance to take the board examination twice.
What will be the big changes in higher education, what will be the type of board examinations, what will be the nature of primary classes, what will be the changes in engineering and medicine streams — to get the answer we spoke to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Q: What will be the nature of the 10th and 12th standard board examinations or will there be any changes in them?
A: The new policy will make the 10th or 12th board exams easier. The emphasis will be on holistic learning of students rather than on rote learning or learning from coaching classes. All students will be allowed to take the board examination twice during any school year to eliminate the higher risk aspect of final examinations. A main examination and an improvement will be allowed if necessary.
Q: What will be the impact of the new education policy on higher education like medical and engineering?
A: Medical education needs to be revisited. People use pluralistic alternatives in healthcare. Our health education system needs to be integrated, Which means that all students of allopathic medical education should have a basic understanding of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani and Homeopathy. The same will apply in the case of all other medical students. Engineering stream will also be introduced within multi-disciplinary educational institutions and programmes with renewed focus on opportunities to engage deeply with other disciplines.
Q: What has the new education policy brought for the students at the primary level?
A: In the new education policy, students will be benefited with flexible, multifaceted, multi-level, sports based, activity based and innovation based education system from the initial stage itself. The overall objective of this policy is to achieve optimum results in the physical, cognitive, social, moral and cultural development of children. The medium of instruction will be the mother tongue of the children.
Q: What will be the fundamental changes in the process of learning and teaching in the new education policy?
A: The new education policy emphasizes on reduction of school curriculum burden, increased flexibility, learning in a creative way rather than rote learning. Along with this, school text books will also be changed. Wherever possible, teachers will also have a number of options from text books. They will now have several sets of such textbooks Which will include the required national and local content. The teachers will be able to teach in a way that suits their own style of teaching keeping in mind the needs of students.
Q: What will be the process of admission in higher educational institutions — graduation, post graduation. How can more and more students be imparted higher education?
A: The principles will be the same for the university entrance exam. The National Testing Agency (NTA) will undertake the Higher Quality General Aptitude Test, as well as the examination of the specific general subject at least twice every year in science, humanities, language, arts and vocational subjects. The NTA will undertake the admission test for undergraduate and graduate admissions and fellowship in higher educational institutions. It will be left to the universities and colleges to decide whether to adopt the NTA entrance exam for admission in their institutes.
Q: How will the new education policy be effective in the field of technical education?
A: The impact of technology on all human enterprises is increasing the possibility of bridging the gap between technical education and other disciplines. Thus technical education will also be introduced within multi-disciplinary educational institutions and programmes and will focus on renewed linking opportunities with other disciplines. Degree and diploma programmes in technical education are included. For example, engineering, technology management, architecture, pharmacy, catering etc which are important for the overall development of India.
Q: What kind of changes will be made for teachers in the new education policy?
A: Along with ensuring the important role teachers will play in the new education policy, the quality of teachers’ education, recruitment, posting, service conditions and their rights have been assessed. The change has been ensured by extending the B.Ed programme along with the teacher eligibility test. The policy aims to increase the capacities of teachers to the maximum level. Teachers will be given more freedom to select courses. Teachers will have to do the work from the point of view of all-round development of students keeping in mind the social and emotional aspects. Teachers will be honoured for positive results. Under the new policy, teachers will get opportunities for their sustainable professional development.
Q: You said that the new education policy will be based on knowledge, culture and Indian ethos. What provisions have you made in it for that?
A: This policy is based on the principle that education should not only develop basic abilities like literacy and numeracy as well as higher level of logical and problem solving cognitive abilities, but also the creation of moral, social, emotional character of students. Knowledge, wisdom, the search for truth are always considered to be the highest human goals in Indian thought tradition and philosophy. The goal of education in ancient India has been considered as complete enlightenment and liberation of human soul. Indian culture and philosophy have a major influence in the world. This rich heritage of global importance not only needs to be preserved for the coming generations, but research work should also be done on it. It needs to be further enriched.
Q: What kind of changes do you see in colleges and universities after the new education policy is implemented?
A: The nature of universities will change after the new education policy comes into force. If we define the university, there will be many types of institutions, which will give equal importance to teaching and research. A primarily autonomous degree granting college would refer to a large multi-disciplinary institution of higher education. At the same time, a phased system will be implemented to give autonomy to colleges. Over time, gradually all the colleges will either become degree-granting autonomous institutions or develop as part of a university.
Q: Parents are still apprehensive about the opening of the schools. What are the plans for opening the schools, especially for the primary level students after the lockdown?
A: Under the guidelines of Unlock 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the schools, colleges and all coaching institutes to remain closed till August 31. According to the guidelines of the Home Ministry, we will take a further decision later.