Published: 30th July 2021
Is the NEP making teachers irrelevant or is it the new shastra of education? Reactions to PM's new schemes
A majority of the proposals that have been presented at the grand virtual meet have been well received by the sector. But they have their grievances too
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a set of new goals and initiatives on the first anniversary of the National Education Policy, reactions ranged from glowing plaudits to severe criticism. While the move to implement 27 per cent reservation for OBC students in All India Quota medical seats for both UG and PG was lauded, releasing the Academic Bank of Credit plan did not go down well with teachers.
ABC to make teachers irrelevant?
The Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) said that the ABC Regulation 2021 will only result in the dilution of degrees. They said that students might be rendered irrelevant after these regulations come into force. "As more and more students wish to join mainstream education in regular mode, the Government is finding refuge in changing the character of regular modes of education by forcing inclusion of online teaching component in the regular stream," said Dr Rajib Ray, President of DUTA. "With the SWAYAM Regulations 2021, ABC Regulations and Blended Learning model in place, teachers and universities will be rendered irrelevant," he added.
The teachers further added that these policy documents do not take any responsibility for the quality of the degree in terms of their "meaningful composition and employability". "The ABC scheme will facilitate the credit recognition and credit redemption process for students who may choose all the 100% courses as per their choice. Such a UG degree in place of prevailing specialized Honors Degree is a retrograde step and will damage our capacity for knowledge production," said Dr Rajinder Singh, Secretary, DUTA.
Tech in education the new shastra?
The PM and the Ministry of Education have overtly emphasised on digitising the education system. At the anniversary event a hoard of new apps and websites or at least the plan to build some were released. "New initiatives such as the NDEAR and NETF are absolutely vital to reform education by bringing in digital technology. This will provide the much-needed impetus to achieve scale and quality in education at a small marginal cost and make it affordable to the common man," Milind Padalkar, Pro-Chancellor, The NorthCap University.
"The vision of the National Education Policy will be fruitful with proper implementation and adherence. With an emphasis on digital first ideology, and additional initiatives like Nishtha 2.0, Indian Sign Language, three-month module created by NCERT, the National Education Policy will ensure continuous and uninterrupted learning," said Prajodh Rajan, Co-Founder & Group CEO, Lighthouse Learning.
Aditi Bhutoria, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Management Group at IIM Calcutta, went a step forward, calling EdTech the new "shastra" of education. “The PM’s speech beckons a Digital Revolution in India, alongside an array of new initiatives. EdTech is increasingly making learning accessible, contextual, flexible, and customizable especially in a pandemic-ridden world. Going forward, EdTech is the new shastra that has the power to help accomplish the NEP goals and foster the requisite skill development of 21-century youth of the nation.” she said.
Devil is in the details
The NEP has been lauded ever since it came out, even by the opposition — but on a condition. The implementation is what matters. The views still remain the same across the spectrum. "Now with a year passed by, the main focus should be to fast track implementation. We hope to have the implementing guidelines soon and it is important that the guidelines are simple to understand and easy to execute for effective implementation," Sumit Kumar, Vice President-NETAP, TeamLease Skill University
But there's the matter of spending. "Implementing the NEP needs a lot of will and a huge budget. We really hope that with COVID 19 situation improving we will see better budget allocation for the implementation of NEP," Aman Mittal, Additional Director and Head of Division of International Affairs at Lovely Professional University.
While the criticisms still flow in, when the implementation of the NEP will start across the board is still vague. But Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare had assured us earlier this year, while speaking at TNIE's ThinkEdu 2021, that the process has already started and the bodies like UGC are already working on various aspects of the policy.