Integration of public-private partnership will boost the process of on-ground implementation of this policy
The Union government had released the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on 29th July 2020. Except for a few areas of concern, by and large, the recommendations of NEP 2020 found favour with the majority in the Indian education ecosystem. In the context of what the earlier NEPs were, and given the times we are in, the policy document, as a guideline, sets the right tone and framework for making India a nation of thought leaders, vision executors, and nation builders without letting go of the roots that form the rich and diverse culture.
However, without effective execution, the grand vision for education transformation in India will remain just an aspiration. The Education Secretary has made it amply clear that the year 2020-2030 will be the period for 100 per cent implementation of NEP and the full benefits of the improved education policy will be available from the year 2030 onwards. Implementation of the NEP on the ground is not easy and entails bringing together various bodies such as the National Council of Education Research (NCERT), State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), among others. At least 305 tasks have been identified and broken down amongst these various education bodies.
The following five points are a few of the recommendations that can be regarded as small steps for immediate momentum.
Categorisation of Beneficiaries
India caters to more than 240 million students enrolled across 1.85 million government and government-aided schools and nearly 0.4 million private schools. The NEP 2020 is a single document that would cater to all. However, different types of schools with students from various cultures, languages, states, and districts must be approached differently when it comes to implementing the NEP. Thus, it is very important to have a detailed survey conducted to get a clear gap analysis for all categories of schools and link the gaps to what the NEP will solve. The survey must lead to a detailed project report, which can then be used to track implementation.
Categorisation Based on Financial Implication
All executable tasks that do not have major financial implications could be addressed on priority as low-hanging fruit. For example, redesigning the national curriculum framework for early childhood education and school education, introduction of a holistic report card, CBSE board exam pattern changes, setting a registration and accreditation, framework for pre-schools, and setting the new framework for Teacher Training through National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) can start getting rolled down. A compilation of the best practices in these areas could be a good starting point.
Setting Clear Guidelines on the Multi-Language Policy through Detailed Communication
The multi-language policy is designed with the background that children must understand their mother tongue, as they enter learning ages, that is, from the age of three. Imagine the stress and confusion that these children could endure while they enter a pre-school and are suddenly faced with instructions from teachers in languages that they are unaware of. This is a reality in rural areas. Those who have not understood this perception have been incorrectly concluding that the NEP 2020 is attempting to thwart English and other common languages. This is far from the ethos that has been set for this clause and the confusion must be corrected at a state level.
Fast-track Public-Private partnerships for Implementation in Government Schools
It should be amply clear by now that the government (in this case the Ministry of Education) must focus on policies, governance, and monitoring. To ensure efficient implementation and execution, there must be a more robust public-private partnership (PPP) in place. The PPP model must clearly define the key areas of implementation that the NEP 2020 envisages and implementing papers with budgets should be cleared and prepares. The model must take into account the appropriate experience and knowledge of the implementation partners in the areas of school and classroom management, coupled with strong technological expertise. A partner, having one of the traits without the other, may not be able to do full justice to the end objectives.
Integration of Pre-Schools into Mainstream Schooling
The first seven years of a child have been scientifically proven to be the most crucial for a strong foundation setting in education absorption. This is also the period that parents normally have their children sent to pre-schools, otherwise, also known as ‘Anganwadis’ and ‘Balwadis’ in the government ecosystem. There needs to be a continuity link between pre-schools and secondary schools, to help students better understand the concepts. The NEP 2020 clearly addresses this lacuna and calls for the integration of children aged between three and six into formal education.
The regulatory bodies and many school managements are already on the path towards the execution of key elements of the NEP 2020. What is very heartening is the thoughtful and collaborative manner in which the NEP 2020 was conceived and the positive manner in which the same has been received by the education ecosystem.
The author is CEO, Ampersand Group
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