NEW DELHI: The day-long virtual Conference on the National Education Policy (NEP) got off on Monday with unanimity expressed by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Governors, Lieutenant Governors, administrators and education ministers of the States/UTs that the policy is not a mere document but an attempt to realise the aspirations of the nation.
President Ram Nath Kovind appreciated the manner in which the policy is distilled into a coherent and effective document by drawing inferences from lakhs of suggestions from across the social spectrum. He lauded the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in guiding the policy towards the goal of making the country a "knowledge hub".
Addressing the conference, President Kovind said that the NEP will take the country, especially the youth, forward in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the twenty-first century. Congratulating the Prime Minister for his visionary leadership and inspiring role in shaping this historical document, he also appreciated Dr Kasturirangan and Ministers as well as the officials of Education Ministry for giving shape to National Education Policy through an elaborate process which took into consideration more than two lakh suggestions received from 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, more than 12,500 local bodies and about 675 districts. If changes are effectively brought about, India will emerge as an education superpower, he added.
Elaborating on the NEP, the President said that the Governors being Chancellors of State Universities have a crucial role to play in the implementation of NEP. There are some 400 State Universities with about 40,000 colleges affiliated to them. Hence it was imperative to establish coordination and dialogue with these universities which could be done by Governors who are also the Chancellors, the President said.
President Kovind further said that education is the most effective way for social justice; and hence the National Education Policy calls for an investment of about 6 per cent of GDP jointly by the Centre and the States. He said that the NEP emphasizes on strengthening of public educational institutions for a vibrant democratic society and at the same time inculcate respect among students for Fundamental Rights, Duties, Constitutional values and patriotism.
Briefing the Governors about NEP, President Kovind said that the socially and economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs) have been given priority in this policy through various initiatives. It includes providing foundational literacy and numeracy to all children at primary school level by 2025.
Reiterating the role of teachers in NEP, President Kovind said that teachers will have a central role in the new education system, the most promising people being selected for the teaching profession. With this perspective, a new and comprehensive curriculum for teachers' education will be formulated by next year, he said.
Talking about the importance of vocational education, President Kovind said that less than 5 per cent of the workforce in India received formal vocational education which is nominal in comparison to the western countries. Hence in NEP, vocational education will be considered as a part of mainstream education and such education will be given equal status which will make the children not only more skilled but will also generate respect and dignity of labour, he said.
President Kovind also observed that it has been widely accepted that the mother tongue should be the medium of primary education and hence the new policy adopts the spirit of the three-language formula. It has the benefit of encouraging the Indian languages, arts and culture which is a significant step in preserving the unity and integrity of our country characterised by great linguistic diversity.
With the aim of achieving quality education, multi-disciplinary education is being appreciated worldwide and hence as per the NEP, Multi Disciplinary Research Universities i.e. 'MERU' will be set up which will be beneficial for the development of qualified, versatile and creative youth, the President said.
One large multi-disciplinary higher education institution in or around each district by 2030 to provide higher education in underserved regions is being targeted under this policy. These steps are being taken to make quality higher education accessible to the socially and economically disadvantaged groups. In addition, he said, efforts are being made to make India global study destination and it is envisioned that foreign universities of repute would be allowed to impart education in India.
President Kovind opined that the success of this Education Policy will depend on the effective contribution of both the Centre and the States. Education being enumerated in the concurrent list of the Constitution, it requires coordinated action by the Centre and the States. Appreciating the enthusiasm of the Governors, the President said that some of them have already started preparations for the implementation of National Education Policy by initiating dialogue with the respective Education Ministers and the Vice Chancellors. He advised the Governors to have a theme based virtual conference on the implementation of the same and also invited suggestions to the Union Education Ministry which could be utilised across the country. President Kovind concluded with the observation that such contribution by the Governors and Education Ministers will be helpful in transforming India into a 'Knowledge Hub'. (PIB)