PM’s address at the inaugural session of the Governors’ Conference on NEP 2020
Prime Minister’s Office
Respected President, my cabinet colleagues Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank ji, Sanjay Dhotre ji, all honorable Governors, Lieutenant Governors, States’ Education Ministers, Dr.Kasturirangan ji, who has played an important role in giving shape to the National Education Policy, and his team, Vice-Chancellors from different universities, academicians, ladies and gentlemen taking part in this conference.
First of all, I am thankful to the honorable President. This conference is very relevant and important in the context of the National Education Policy. Today’s gathering together has hundreds of years of teaching experience. I welcome and greet you all.
The education policy and education system is a very important medium in meeting the aspirations of the country. The central government, the state government, the local bodies, all are associated with the responsibility of the education system. But this is also true that there should be bare minimum interference and influence of the government in the education policy. The more the teachers, parents and students are involved in the education policy, its relevance and prevalence also increases.
Work on the National Education Policy began 4-5 years ago. Lakhs of people from villages and cities across the country and the experienced people associated with the education sector had given their feedback and suggestions. More than two lakh people had also offered their suggestions on the different aspects of the draft education policy. That means parents, students, academicians, teachers, education managers, professionals, all have contributed in this regard. The National Education Policy is now being welcomed everywhere due to the nectar that has emerged after such profound, extensive and diversified discussions.
Everybody, be it a teacher in a village or reputed academicians, is finding the National Education Policy as their own education policy. Everybody feels that these were the reforms that they wanted to see in the previous education policy. This is the major reason behind acceptance to the National Education Policy.
The nation has taken one more step forward after deciding the format of the education policy. There is widespread discussion and debate in the country regarding the National Education Policy and its implementation. This comprehensive discussion is also necessary because the National Education Policy is not just limited to reforms in the methods of schooling. This policy is going to give a new direction to the social and economic spheres of the 21st century India.
This policy will shape the resolve and competence of a self-reliant India. Naturally, our preparations and awareness should also be in sync with this enormous resolve. Most of you have studied the nuances of the National Education Policy. Therefore, it is equally important that there should be continuous discussion on the nuances and the purposes of the reform of this magnitude. The country will be able to successfully implement the National Education Policy after resolving all the doubts and questions.
Today the world is widely debating the rapidly changing jobs and the nature of work. This policy will prepare the youth of the country on the two fronts of knowledge and skills in keeping with the demands of the future. The new education policy focuses on learning rather than studying and emphasises on critical thinking beyond the curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on passion, practicality and performance rather than the process. There is also focus on foundation learning and languages; learning outcomes and teacher training. Widespread reforms have been undertaken on access and assessment in this policy. It demonstrates a way to empower each student.
In a way, this is a solid attempt to take the one-size-fits-all approach out of our education system. And all of you veterans also feel that this is not an ordinary but an extra-ordinary attempt. In this policy, there has been comprehensive discussion to remove all the deficiencies and problems which we found in our decades-old education policy. For long, there have been raging debates regarding children being burdened with bags and board exams and are under the pressure of family and society. This policy addresses this problem in an effective way. It is said in our country that सा विद्या या विमुक्तये i.e., knowledge should be such which liberates our mind.
When the children will be connected with their culture, language and traditions at the foundation stage, the education will not only become very effective and easy, but the children will also relate to it. Under the National Education Policy, the democratic values of learning without any pressure, paucity and influence have been made part of our education policy in a real sense. The pressure on the students regarding streams, have been done away with.
Now, our youths would be able to study according to their interest and aptitude. Earlier, the students used to choose a stream beyond their capability due to pressure. By the time they would realize this, it would be very late. The result was the student would either drop out or somehow complete his degree. I understand it, in fact, you know better than me that this has created so many problems in our country; this was the root of several problems. While there is a solution to these problems in the National Education Policy, the students will also greatly benefit from the academic bank of credit.
It is very essential for the youth to be skilful in order to make India self-reliant. Our youth will be better prepared for the future due to vocational exposure since childhood. Practical learning will not only increase employability of our young friends in the country, but their participation will also increase in the global job market. It is said in our country that आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः i.e., one should accept good ideas, no matter from which direction they come. India has been a global centre of knowledge from ancient times. We are striving to make India a knowledge economy in the 21st century. The new education policy is a big step in the direction of achieving this resolve.
The new National Education Policy has opened doors for establishment of the best international institution campuses in India for youths of ordinary families and to tackle brain drain. When the international level top campuses are established in the country, the tendency to go abroad for education will also reduce and our universities and colleges will also become more competitive. Online education is another aspect of it, which ends all the limitations regarding local or international schooling.
There is bound to be some doubts and apprehensions when there are widespread changes in any system and we move towards the creation of a new system. The parents will think that if the students get so much freedom, if the streams are done away with, how will they get admission in colleges, what will happen to the careers of their children? There will be questions in the minds of the professors and teachers how they will prepare themselves for the new changes. How will the new curriculum be managed?
There will be several questions and you are discussing them as well. Most of these questions relate to its implementation, like how the curriculum will be designed, how the syllabus and content will be prepared in local languages? Regarding libraries, regarding the digital and online content of education which has been proposed in the policy, how will these take place. Whether we will not miss our goals in the absence of resources? Naturally, there will be several questions regarding administration in your mind. All these questions are important also.
We all are working together to solve each question. There is a continuous dialogue taking place in the Ministry of Education. The views and feedback of each and every stakeholder in the states are also being heard with an open mind. Ultimately, we all have to sort out all the doubts and apprehensions. The way this policy has come about with flexibility of vision, similarly, we all will have to demonstrate maximum flexibility for its implementation.
This education policy is not the government’s education policy. This is the country’s education policy. Just as the foreign and defence policies are the policies of the nation and don’t belong to any government, similarly the education policy is also the education policy of the country, no matter which government is there, or who is ruling the country. This policy came after 30 years because it is not bound by the governments, but represents the aspirations of the country.
In view of the rapidly changing times, comprehensive provisions have been made in the National Education Policy keeping in view the future. As technology is expanding to villages and is becoming accessible to the poorest of the poor in the country, the deprived, the backward and the tribal communities, their access to information and knowledge is also increasing.
Today I find that several young friends are running channels on the video streaming sites through their video blogs, making better coaching available on each and every subject. This was something the poor boy or girl could not even imagine. There has been sharp decline in the problem of regional and social imbalance due to the reach of the technology. This is our responsibility that we promote maximum technological solutions in each university and college.
Any system can be as effective and inclusive, as much better its governance model. This policy reflects the same approach regarding governance. Attempts are being made that every aspect of higher education, be it academic, technical or vocational, every type of education is brought out from silos. The policy has attempted to ensure better coordination by keeping administrative layers to the minimum. The regulation of higher education will be further simplified and streamlined through this policy.
The effort behind the concept of graded autonomy is to encourage healthy competition among every college and university and the institutions should be rewarded according to their performance. This is our collective responsibility that we implement the purpose of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) in letter and spirit. This is my special request to all of you to organize more such virtual conferences in the universities of your states and Union Territories before September 25. The idea is to have the better understanding of the National Education Policy as we move ahead. Once again, I offer my gratitude to all of you for taking your time out.
I once again express my gratitude to the respected President. Many many best wishes to all of you.