National Education Policy-2020 will make students future-ready, take India to greater heights: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged education leaders of India to lay the road map for the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 saying the policy will make students future-ready and take the country to new heights in the 21st century.

The target of NEP 2020 is to keep students future-ready and to lay the foundations for new India, the PM said while addressing a conclave on NEP’s higher education reforms organised by the Education Ministry.

The Prime Minister said NEP aimed to make India powerful, take it to greater heights, empower students and afford them opportunities to grow.

Terming the ongoing ideological debate on the policy as “healthy”, the PM said the good part was “no one had accused NEP of bias.“

He said it was natural for some people to ask how such a radical reform would translate on the ground.

“All eyes are on the implementation of NEP now and a new era in dialogue between stakeholders is set to begin. All of you should lay a roadmap for implementation of NEP, convert the policy into action and set timelines. I assure you complete political backing and will,” the PM told the heads of higher education institutions.

He said it had become imperative for the Indian education system to transform itself given the changing world order and new global education standards.

“So far the Indian education system had not seen any major reform. Students remained trapped in the rat race to become doctors or engineers or lawyers. Their interest, ability and demand had not been mapped. It was important to free the system of this rat race and inculcate creative and innovative thinking in students. NEP does that successfully by taking a holistic view rather than think in silos,” said the PM in the presence of space scientist K Kasturirangan, who led the NEP drafting process that took four years of consultations.

The PM also commented on the mother tongue issue saying there can be no debate on the fact that children learned better in their mother tongue and should preferably be taught till class 5 in mother language as recommended by the NEP.

Emphasising dignity of labour the PM also said Indian students must learn to respect all forms of labour for which the NEP takes the necessary steps.

“We have to think how a culturally rich India came to discriminate between people. Our students must respect the sacrifice farmers and labourers make towards nation-building. Dignity of labour has been stressed in NEP,” he said adding that the document equally emphasises the dignity of teachers who will create and shape good global citizens.

The PM said NEP seeks to create global citizens who are rooted in Indian culture and values.

Listing reforms including a reduction in school syllabus, academic credit bank and multiple entry and exit in colleges, the PM said the students will now have the freedom to choose a course and leave it to pursue another if they want.

“We are entering an era where a person won’t be stuck to one job for years. He would need to reskill and upskill himself. NEP addresses this and rids higher education of regimented streams by encouraging flexibility to learn,” Modi said assuring autonomy to colleges that advance NEP goals.

The PM also said the new NEP will shift the focus of students from “what to think” to “how to think “ citing the two questions that confronted the government when preparing the policy — does the existing education system inspire students towards curiosity- and creativity-driven life; does the existing system empower youth and society.