Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, noted that ancient state-level education laws are a major obstacle to implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP) in true spirit, and without a new legal framework it will simply be a set of guidelines. “The recommendations of the newly introduced national education policy are progressive, but it needs a possible legal framework to realize its full potential. There are many provisions in various state education laws that limit the proper implementation of the NEP,” he said.
In addition, the Minister added that the pre-school education system in India lacks framework, is not well regulated and varies within the states themselves. “A new legal framework is needed for NEP to adapt it to the forward-looking provisions of NEP 2020. Otherwise, the policy will not be able to overcome the obstacles created by existing legal provisions and age-old practices,” he added.
Sisodia mentioned, in contrast to the national capital, that the condition of 95-98% of public schools across the country is extremely poor, except for a few ‘demonstration schools’ in each state.
“We’re talking about inclusive teaching in our policies, but the teacher guarantees, while completing the classroom curriculum, that every child has a space to learn at their own pace. Are we training our future teachers to practice inclusion in our BEd curriculum? We need to ensure that when teachers enter the classroom, they are not only masters of their subjects, but have also deeply absorbed the principles of inclusive development as their fundamental character, ”said Sisodia.
“In NEP, there has been maximum focus on the first five years. This is in sync with the idea of preschool education globally. But the pre-school education system in India is very unsystematic and varies in each state, ”he said.
Anganwadi focuses on zero to six years, medical schools have their own standards and first grade has other criteria. Whereas the new education policy focuses on basic learning for the first five years. In such a situation, we need to have an implementation framework that really lays the foundation for lifelong learning, ”he added.
The minister said the Central Government’s National Achievement Survey (NAS) for schools should not end up being just a high-stakes exam. “In India, we have a traditional three-hour annual exam process, which determines the future of the children. This causes a lot of stress in the schools and leads to pressure on the students to pass the exam,” he said.
“I fear that NAS will also change along the same lines, where getting high scores in NAS has become a priority for the state’s education departments. It will create further pressure on students.” “The government should also look at the framework of the NAS and look for new assessment processes,” he added.
With input from PTI.
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