In a recently held press conference, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that the central government is working to set-up PM Shri Schools where the primary aim will be to prepare the students for the future. The minister added that the state of the art schools will be the laboratories for smooth implementation of NEP 2020. Announced on July 29nd, 2020, NEP 2020 is a novel initiative that aspires to enable a paradigm shift in Indian education through different objectives which include: making the teacher recruitment system more robust and merit-centric, increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GRE) from 26.3 percent to 50 percent by 2035 and replacement of 10 plus 2 school curricula structure with a 5+3+3+4 structure, to name a few. Aside from that, NEP 2020 also aspires to create an inclusive learning environment that ensures that a student's background doesn't have a negative impact on his/her learning opportunities. While the pros of NEP 2020 are many, if it isn't implemented properly, it might hinder India's pursuit of becoming a knowledge powerhouse. Let us analyze the most pressing implementation challenges and their potential solutions.
The Mindset Shift
The conventional British model of education that we follow in India to this day has been adversely impacting the growth of both the Indian education system and its learners. The method of education is one of the most followed and deep rooted teaching styles in the country, and the teachers, students, as well as other stakeholders, have grown accustomed to it. The US has tackled this issue of stagnant educational mindset by preparing their students for a life time of learning from a very young age, and ensuring that their teachers become mentors for students and guide them towards their holistic development instead of just following a standard curriculum. In the UK, government has launched an improved as well as ambitious national curriculum that focuses on streamlining education in such a way that educators can focus more on the essential skills as well as knowledge a student should have. And with the said curriculum change, the UK is aiming to impact education especially in science, math, and english.
Coping with Pedagogical Changes
Innovative pedagogical changes are one of the top priorities of NEP 2020 and the recent shift towards online as well as hybrid learning models are some noteworthy examples of changing teaching pedagogies. These changes are crucial for the sustained development of an education system and its learners as they will help students become more conscious of their surroundings and take better personal and professional choices. NEP 2020 further advocates its importance as it focuses on developing the competency of the students when it comes to knowledge acquisition, and skill development. During the onset of COVID-19, many Arabian countries including Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait tackled the adverse impact it had on education by shifting towards new online learning models which helped educators of the country impart education to their students hassle-free. Especially in Jordan, where online learning wasn't considered to be a preferred choice of education, during COVID, educators saw the immense potential and flexibility it can offer to both teachers and learners. The country even set up Darsak platform which is an online system to ensure the smooth transfer of knowledge for schools during the pandemic. This ability to keep abreast and quickly adapt to the latest trends can have a major impact on the success of NEP 2020 as well.
“NEP 2020 further advocates its importance as it focuses on developing the competency of the students when it comes to knowledge acquisition, and skill development”
Like the teaching style, assessment parameters have largely remained unchanged in India for nearly half a century. The ordinary way of conducting an exam and evaluating the progress of the students based on the marks they score is an outdated way of assessing students. Rennie Center Chair, Pendred Noyce who is a pioneering writer and advocate of science education states that, "We must get beyond the incomplete snippets of information that current assessments provide for complex subjects like science inquiry". Operating from Boston, Massachusetts, Rennie Center is a unique entity that aspires to improve public education through informed decision making that is based on deep knowledge. They recently launched `The Road Ahead for State Assessments', which is a unique initiative that strives to offer improvements when it comes to testing and allowing educators to evaluate their students more efficiently.
Grassroots Level Intervention
If one takes a closer look at Indian education, they can find that it is predominantly a top-down system where the needs of those who create and run the system are given major emphasis. To mitigate this issue, grassroots level interventions such as increasing adoption of quality physical education, and increased classroom activities that are engaging for students are crucial. Gamification is a great tool to tackle this challenge and popular software like Google's Read Along, Kahoot, Archy Learning, and Elucidat can help educators to make learning more fun for the learners. Out of this, Kahoot is a unique software that helps teachers develop multiple choice quizzes and share it with the students seamlessly. Using Kahoot, teachers can also use gamification tools efficiently in classrooms.
Many view NEP 2020 with a positive outlook and hope that it becomes the harbinger of greater things to come in the future. If implemented properly, NEP 2020 has the potential to future proof the Indian education system that will greatly benefit the learners and the country as a whole. This will also mean that India will be able to compete with its western counterparts when it comes to individual student development and bridge the industry-academia gap by making students more employable.