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‘Why India needs a new education policy?’

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Rajendra Pratap Gupta

“Why India needs a new education policy? As history is replete with examples of a broken education system and if we wish to achieve sustainable development, we need to transform the education system,” said Dr Rajendra Pratap Gupta, Member, National Education Policy Committee, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

He was speaking at the World Education Summit organised in November 2017 in Dubai. The Summit was organised in partnership with the Knowledge and Human Development Agency (KHDA), Dubai. It brought together top decision-makers from government and public sector for exchange of ideas on best practices, trends, challenges and growth opportunity in education ecosystem.

Describing about the importance of education in a nation’s development, Dr Gupta said, “Some of the policymakers believe that education and health are the areas where we will focus on only after the country becomes developed. It is not like that. If the public is neither healthy nor educated, it is very difficult to imagine development of any country. Economic growth without improvement in education and health cannot facilitate development.”

Citing the examples of Singapore and Medellin — A city in Colombia, Dr Gupta stated that the one of the major reasons behind the 180 degree transformation of the aforesaid places is the good quality education.

Describing about the flaws of the education system, Dr Gupta referred Charles Darwin and Gregor Johann Mendel who used to be sailor and priest respectively. He said, “If the two eminent scientists have to follow the education system of bachelors’ degree and ahead, they will never be to achieve that they had.”

Explaining about the growing demand of technology across the world, Dr Gupta stated, “Digitisation and Automation will drastically change the education and employment scenario.” In this context, he also referred a study by McKinsey Global Institute that suggests that in coming future  few occupations will be fully automated whereas the 60% of all the occupations across the world have a chance of 30% automation.

“We need to understand the importance of technology and also need to leverage the same through our education policy so that we can generate more job opportunities for our students,” he added.

Our first National Education Policy (NEP) was in 1968. 18 years later, we implemented the second education policy which got revised in 1992. 25 years later to that we are taking about drafting a new education policy.

Describing about the changes that have been witnessed and that India as a country needs to focus on, he said, “Since the last National Education Policy, India has liberalised its economy, India’s population has witnessed a massive growth of 65%, there is a paradigm shift in every sector globally, Signing of the Washington Accord, and most India needs to add one million jobs every month. These all are the factors that need to be focused on in the National Education Policy (NEP).”

As the New Education Policy of India is likely to be implemented in few months, Dr Gupta’s above speech was quite a bit relevant in today’s scenario. There are only speculations about the various norms that may or may not be the part of the education policy.

The education policy must include three very important aspects: Incorporating processes to be in sync with the global trends, effective skill training to boost employability and effective implementation of technology to improve teaching-learning processes.

The draft NEP was submitted to the new HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on May 31, following which it was made public for feedback and suggestion.

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