Untangling NEP 2020: Will the New Policy Revamp Education In Schools?

The National Education Policy should make it to the headlines for all the right reasons as it brings with itself several reforms to revolutionise the education system in India. The policy is heavily detailed as it speaks about the proposed reforms in education in India.

On Saturday, August 29, Avishkaar hosted a webinar on National Education Policy to get a 360 degree understanding of what it has in store for children and educators.

We had eminent educators and practitioners from the industry- Dr Madan Mohan Pant,  Mr Anustup Nayak and Mr Anand Ingle who graced the webinar with their interesting insights. 

The discussion took place on some of the key points of this policy, that it is planning to introduce vocational courses for school children. But on the ground, how realistic is this, here’s what Mr Anand had to say-

“I feel that there are two poles in education in India. There is just a small percentage of schools which are progressive, with all facilities and funds. But there are more than a lakh number of schools across the country, some of which the government runs or a trust appointed by the Government.” He also added that students shun away from working with their hands because of which most skills go overlooked. So internships from class 6 onwards in various fields, be it pottery or carpentry, will prove helpful to students and create better value to skilled craftsmen.

The NEP is promoting children to learn to code from grade 6, and that’s a groundbreaking change in school level education. Being digital natives, children should learn other applications like programming languages, coding, as it will help them get better at problem-solving, logical thinking and also hone their creative skills which are essential in the 21st Century.

On being asked about the feasibility of vocational learning and learning to code in Govt. Schools, Mr Anustup, says, “The policy needs more thought before implementation. There is a caste differentiation in our country between those who deal with their head and those who deal with their hand.  Doing work with our bare hands makes a lot of difference.”  

“As far is coding concerned, they should take a computational thinking approach. I don’t think our teachers or the curriculum are equipped yet, but we can work on it. We can use some game-based learning as a foundation in the lower classes before diving into the core concepts from grade 6,” he added. 

The other takeaways that Dr Pant talked about were the fundamentals of NEP as it is a visionary and a directory document. He said that children being taught in their vernacular language till class five is progressive and the addition of coding in the curriculum from class 6 is a step in the right direction. 

All of this together aims to reform the current educational norms since the future is going to be more about people and machines working together. This is possible through learning to code, programming languages, computational thinking at the school level.

Technology education becoming a critical piece of school education. Children need to have a hands-on learning experience with robotics, coding etc. The Government has already kickstarted this process by setting up Atal Tinkering Labs and robotics labs in schools and in remote areas too. Labs like this give children an opportunity to learn practically and it is an effective way to teach children critical skills like coding, computational thinking.

To conclude, this education policy is like a North Star giving us a direction, but at a ground level, as educators, administrators, teachers, need to cover a lot of ground to implement the elements from this policy. In simple words, the government still has to do a lot of groundwork before the policy gets green-lit for implementation.