NEP: A Review
When the future of the country is nourished and nurtured in the four walls of classrooms, how can one develop if the future of the country is supposed to sit for five to six hours in the over-crowded classes of the schools with rigid structure? This rigid structure includes the fixed timetable; stress on course completion; lack of novel teaching techniques, approaches and methods; stress on convergent thinking depriving the child of divergent thinking; lack of motivation and discussion which kills creativity and innovation etc. In fact these are the reasons that turns the classes suffocating and uninteresting for the students, the impact of which is observed in the society. Here, it doesn’t mean that the teacher is a culprit. In fact whereby it is difficult for parents to handle one or two children at home it’s really horrible to think of getting worthy and tangible output of the teachers teaching a class of 50 to 80 students within 40-45 minutes. Education has always been at the core for any society, state and country because education reflects its development. As is the education, so will be the development of the society in any aspect whether science, technology, social, mental, moral, emotional, ethical, spiritual or economic development. Even in 21st century, when there is knowledge explosion, our education chiefly depends upon textbooks. The same textbooks that should serve the potential subjects have turned their master. It’s not the problem of the lifeless textbooks which bears the potential to add to the life of the prospects but the problem of the system that failed to understand the utility and the limitations of the text books. Whatever it is, the fact is that the textbooks are the mirror of the development of that society. Look at any textbook and you can gauze the development of that society. Thus education turns an invincible weapon. Infact it is a key to unlock any door. To add to the education and the nation, the government came up with the National Education Policy (NEP). As usual, the marketing of NEP was astonishing and the government successfully came up with a new address, in a new dress which is claimed to satisfy the aspirations of the society.
No education can work on its own as a single entity. The students, teachers, curriculum and evaluation are considered to be the pillars of the society and thus each of them needs to be addressed in the NEP. Although the NEP is new with respect to the terms used in the past Education policy but unfortunately, it hardly includes anything new of which the potential prospects are applying today. If we want to satisfy the objectives of education, it is necessary to address the potential prospects of education and their needs but it appears that neither teachers nor the students and their needs are addressed. Education, in fact should not be restricted to these pillars rather should be extended to the society because it is this society that needs these young minds to transform itself and add to its development and thus any NEP should be based on the actual needs of the society. The output of the education is most important and couldn’t be undermined.
Let us start with the vision statement. At a glance, whereas the vision of the NEP claims of contribution to an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by high quality education, the same NEP markets itself by declaring Board exams will be made ‘easier’ as well indicates to offer certificates at any level of education. It’s worth mentioning that quality education comes through rigorous efforts and whereby the country is suffering of unemployment of highly educated people what are these certificates going to add and how will it add to high quality education. Education cannot be effective unless, its vision stands to develop the thinking skill. Whereas the numbers of suicides are increasing, the crime rate is increasing, indiscipline is rupturing, values are vanishing, differences, unemployment and poverty is increasing and the autocracy is spearheading, the vision of NEP hardly visualizes the tangible output. Unemployment is the major problem of the country and the fact is that the education hardly adds to the practical experience required by the market. The vision of education fails to visualize its ability to enable its prospect earn their bread and butter.
The NEP publicizes itself with bold letters as new pedagogical and curricular structure of school education (5+3+3+4): 3 years in Anganwadi/pre-school and 12 years in school. With this it seems that now it is compulsory for the parents to admit their child in a pre-school at the age of three. Hereby these bold letters snatched away the liberty of the hard working and enthusiastic parents who used to teach their child with the play way techniques and admit their child directly in class 1. Whereas the NEP should talk of inculcating values and discipline till 10 years of age, it insists on admitting a child at the age of three. Although, it boasts of liberal education but it imposes the rigid structure. Not restricting to the child, the NEP is likely to create a chaos amongst the people with the idea of 12th grade as a part of college.
With reference to the liberal education, where the mindset of the society (parents of students and even teachers) is inclined towards medical and engineering, it remains to see if students will accept or it adds to the problems of the parents and their ward. It is boasted that anyone can learn anything but with the limited infrastructure, instructional facility and lack of human resources; its worth could hardly be proven. In the densely populated cities, where the schools don’t even have a parking place, it’s beyond imagination to think of a playground. Again, the attraction of NEP comes with celebration of bagless days but the poor infrastructure without playgrounds, library and laboratories turns it a daydream.
The NEP hardly talks anything about the most of the Municipality/government schools where it remains to check, if those students and their career are at risk? The NEP has added new terms to add to itself but it hardly talks of ways and measures to add value to the schools having less than 30% results in board else than suggesting about association of schools. Although the idea sounds good but looking to the human instinct it seems baseless to think of any institute to help other institutions especially with the same infrastructure, instructional facility and human resources. Whereas with the craze for medical and engineering, even the good and reputed schools run short of students and the spurring craze for highly charged classes keeps them flooded with students, the NEP missed to talk about the ways to add to the presence of the students in the schools and colleges.
In last ten years, multidisciplinary education has spurred and the NEP establishes it in black and white by suggesting that multidisciplinary education is to be promoted. Whereas it seems to be pretty attractive, it remains to think of the job prospects, the absorption of the candidate etc. especially when most of the job advertisements are rigid with the requirement of specialization. Noteworthy that most of the institutions don’t even count the teaching experience earned in different faculty. Apart of these many issues related to the need of the society remains untouched in NEP.
It won’t be an exaggeration to assert that the marketing of NEP was wonderful but at a glance the six years efforts seem to be the same skeleton with a minor plastic surgery or an old lady in a new dress with a veil on her face. With the restructuring of the stages of education, it is as if the old wine in new bottle. Merely changing the name and presenting it with pomp and show can hardly add to the quality especially when the human resource and its governance and leadership are same. With the addition of hypes of liberal education, it seems to be special but looking to the existing system and the mindset of the society, it is just uncertain to say, if it will work. Unfortunately, the NEP framed after 36 years with the efforts of the indigenous people for 6 years hardly catered to the human resources. It’s unfortunate that like the system, NEP too promotes the rigid structure as well infrastructure and instructional facility but hardly cares for the human resources which are the heart of education. And the fact is that no education can progress by undermining the importance of human resources. The NEP could have added to its worth with practical experience to the students through compulsory internship in the area or faculty of their graduation or post-graduation. This could have increased the chances of an individual for appropriate selection of job as well would have benefitted the employer to select appropriate candidate. Unfortunately the NEP hardly presents any of these important aspects of education and the fact remains that unless the needs of teachers, students and society are addressed no educational policy would serve the country. Education can be successful only if it adds to the novel thinking and application of learned theories. It’s pity that merit base selection of the system turned the society as a mark oriented society that strives more towards knowledge than for application of that knowledge which affects the creativity and innovation adversely.