By Prof. Rajiv Chopra,
The introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, after three decades has been one of the biggest highlights in the Indian education industry. It is a comprehensive policy that emphasises universities’ multidisciplinary & multimode approaches, and education backed by technology. The new NEP has completely altered the administrative structure of the educational system in India. It focuses on character and skill development in order to help students succeed in life.
A revolutionary vision
One theme among the numerous topics that have drawn public interest is the concept of equity and inclusion. Though a lot of advancements have taken place in a number of important spheres, inequity and exclusion remain problems in Indian educational system. It is difficult to create a national education policy for a nation with great diversity. For the vast majority of rural residents as well as the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, access to quality education is still a dream. India’s diversity necessitates extensive reforms and flexibility in the educational system in order to implement the policy in a way that meets the needs of the diverse population. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach is needed. Through equitable and inclusive education, the NEP promises to bring about revolutionary changes. The NEP’s recognition of the growing inequality and injustice afflicting the nation’s educational system is among its most important components. The NEP acknowledges problems such as high dropout rates among vulnerable minorities, barriers to girls’ participation in rural areas, small school campuses, needs of kids living in difficult geographic areas, etc. It makes an effort to address the rising inequality and injustice that currently plague the nation’s educational system.
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Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups
The Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) categories in the NEP 2020 have been expanded to include individuals and significant intersectionality such as migrant communities, transgender people, students in rural areas, and aspirational districts, moving away from the traditional sites of exclusion. Furthermore, the NEP 2020 give gender parity issues more attention with the provision of “gender inclusion fund” and the inclusion of transgender children. The establishment of Special Education Zones, created specifically in underprivileged areas of the country with the aim of giving targeted attention to students and teachers; flexibility and recognition given to school models such as madrasas, gurukul, etc.; and the standardisation of Indian Sign Language (ISL) are all positive steps that advance the cause of inclusion.
Gross Enrolment Ratio
Increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in education by 2035 is another significant reform in the NEP 2020. Key target in the policy include achieving a 100% GER in preschool through secondary school by 2030 and a 50% GER in higher education by 2035. Socioeconomically disadvantaged groups such as female, transgender, Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes, students from small villages and town, migrant communities, low income households and disabled experience a greater decline in GER. The NEP 2020 suggests constructive ways to improve the GER at different levels of education. The policy has introduced an innovative arrangement for holistic education at all levels including universal access and opportunity to children, state of art infrastructure, minimal dropout rates, safe conveyance and free & affordable accommodation particularly for girl children. It is a significant tool for providing quality education to all aspiring students- rich or poor, by ensuring a low dropout rate.
The main motto of NEP- “Equitable and Inclusive Education” assures that no child should be denied access to a quality education because of their socio-cultural background. The issues raised by the Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs), which include women, transgender people, people from scheduled castes and tribes, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), minorities, and other groups, have been appropriately taken into consideration in NEP.
The policy is a comprehensive and fundamental overhaul of the educational system. It has brought a paradigm shift in Indian education sector, making education and learning more accessible and inclusive to all. The transformational reforms will not only enhance the quality of education but also make India emerge as a knowledge superpower in the world.
(The author is Principal, Delhi College of Arts & Commerce, University of Delhi. These are the author’s personal opinion and may not necessarily present the institute’s thoughts and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)