NEP allows school dropouts to complete their education while skilling themselves, says Education Minister Pradhan

MGNF has been designed by IIM and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), it gives young individuals an opportunity to work with government institutions at at the district level
Dharmendra Pradhan (Pic: PTI)
Dharmendra Pradhan (Pic: PTI)

Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan said that the National Education Policy 2020 has a provision to help even school dropouts get back to education, while strengthening their pre-existing skills. "The policy allows a Class 8 dropout who is able to drive, to be trained at a good driving institute in the district with a Skill India certificate," Pradhan said. He added, "It (NEP) allows authorities to help such a person gain their matriculation certificate as they begin working so that they can go ahead to college if they desire." He said this wasn't possible before NEP and added wistfully, "You all need to read the NEP."

The minister was speaking at the virtual inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) Phase-II, held on October 25. He then addressed staff and students of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, the parent institution of the MGNF certificate programme in Public Policy, and said that fellows need to be taught more about NEP and that it needs to be added in the module with in-depth focus. 

MGNF has been designed by IIM in collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), and gives young individuals an opportunity to work with government institutions at the district level. This is in tandem with academic knowledge that the IIM provides, the idea is to help MGN Fellows engage with skill and economic developmental challenges. As fellows and other speakers at the event referred to the fellowship in its abbreviated form for ease, Pradhan went on to say that it should be referred to in its entirety as it is named after Gandhi. "Stop calling it MGNF. Mahatma Gandhi holds a high stature in all our life. We should get more chances to use his whole name."

What is MGNF?
During the pilot batch (2020-22), IIM Bangalore embedded 69 fellows in six districts of six states — Gujarat, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. For the 2021-23 cohort, the host IIMs have been extended to nine, which includes IIM Ahmedabad. In phase-II of the fellowship, about 660 fellows will be deployed in various districts to work with district administration there. While they will be provided with a stipend of Rs 50,000 a month during the first year of the programme, it will be extended to Rs 60,000 only in the second year of the programme. 

Even the states have been extended to Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

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