The new National Education Policy (NEP) aims to reorient the education system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century by achieving the twin objectives of inclusion and excellence and will also restore India’s glory as a learning centre, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday.
Speaking at the inaugural address of Visitors’ Conference on ‘Implementation of NEP in Higher Education’, Kovind said the policy sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all.
The president emphasised that fundamental principles of the policy include creativity and critical thinking in order to encourage logical decision-making and innovation. He drew inspiration from Bhagvad Gita and the Krishna-Arjun dialogue while reiterating the concept of free communication and discussion between the teacher and the student. The NEP also seeks to encourage critical thinking and spirit of enquiry.
“Effective implementation of the NEP 2020 is likely to restore India’s glory as a great centre of learning as during the times of Takshashila and Nalanda,” Kovind said.
He said a key feature of the NEP is the system of Academic Bank of Credits (ABC). It would digitally store the academic credits earned from various higher education institutions so that degrees can be awarded, taking into account the credits earned by students.
This would allow students the freedom to take courses as per their vocational, professional or intellectual requirements in addition to giving flexibility of suitable exit and re-entry points, he said. The need for strict monitoring of BEd., vocational and distance-learning courses is also being taken care of in this policy, he added.
Kovind also highlighted that the target of the NEP 2020 is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER in higher education to 50% by 2035. He observed that the online system of education can also be utilised to reach this target, especially while catering to the female students or those who do not have physical access to educational institutions as well as international students.
Citing statistics, he added that according to All India Survey of Higher Education for 2018-19, GER for females is slightly higher than that for males. However, the share of female students is extremely low in Institutions of National Importance and particularly low in technical education. Emphasising that NEP has focus on equity and inclusion, he said that such gender disparity in higher education should be corrected.
Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said the aim to strategise the implementation of this policy was initiated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This policy has given access to foreign universities to open campuses in India and vice versa which will be instrumental in the process of making India a soft power, the minister added.
The conference saw the participation of vice chancellors of all Central universities and directors of IITs, NITs, SPAs etc.