Children at RMN Foundation Free School for Modern Education

Children at RMN Foundation Free School for Modern Education

The Draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2016 is a poorly written loose document compiled by some incompetent government officials who do not understand the use of English language to produce meaningful content.

By Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman

Even after a year of dithering since its announcement by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in India, the government has still not created the final policy to save the crumbling education edifice in the country.

But now India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has released a vague, long, winding report on the inputs for the Draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2016.

The 43-page document that goes on and on underlines the challenges in the Indian education system and attempts to provide a framework for the development of education in India over the coming few years.

Here are some excerpts:

Although the Indian higher education has already entered a stage of “massification,” the NEP document observes, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education remains low at 23.6% in 2014-15. The current target is to increase GER to 25.2% in 2017-18 and further to 30% in 2020-21.
It also says that poor
quality of education resulting in unsatisfactory learning outcomes is a matter of great concern.

Quality-related deficiencies such as inappropriate curriculum, the lack of trained educators, and ineffective pedagogy remain a major challenge relating to pre-school education.

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However, according to the NEP document, the biggest challenge facing school education relates to the unsatisfactory level of student learning. The findings of the National Achievement Surveys (NAS) covering Grades III, V, VIII and X suggest that learning levels of a significant proportion of students do not measure up to the expected learning levels.

The NEP document further reveals that poor quality of learning at the primary and upper primary stages affects student learning at the secondary stage.

Poor quality of learning at the secondary stage spills over to the college / university years, leading to poor learning outcomes in the higher education sector.

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There is a growing realisation that there exist serious disconnects between the existing school and higher education curricula and the curricular thrusts that are needed for the development of skills required for decent work in a rapidly changing world.

It is also observed that the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education remains limited and there is a need to accelerate efforts to use ICT for fostering quality education.

In spite of the continued efforts for improving teacher quality and performance, the system for initial professional preparation and continuing professional development of school teachers continue to be charaterised by several deficiencies, says the government document.

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It finds that the current teacher education and training programmes are considered inappropriate in terms of equipping the teachers with the relevant competencies. And there is a continued mismatch between institutional capacity and required teacher supply resulting in shortage of teachers.

The government plans to take various policy initiatives to improve the quality of education. For example, in addition to infrastructure norms specified in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, norms for learning outcomes will be developed and applied uniformly to both private and government schools.

The government believes that there is a need to renew curricula at all levels of education with special emphasis on the emerging learning areas. Some of the curricular thrusts should include enabling learners to respond to the impact of globalization and the demands of the emerging knowledge-based economy and society.

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According to the government, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will undergo a re-orientation to address issues of deteriorating quality of school education and periodic renewal of curricula and pedagogy to move from rote learning to facilitate understanding and encourage a spirit of enquiry.

The Draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2016 is a poorly written loose document compiled by some incompetent government officials who do not understand the use of English language to produce meaningful content.

You can see the document here.

Nevertheless, the government invites views and suggestions from citizens to make the final education policy. The last date for sharing inputs on the Draft National Education Policy is 31st July, 2016.

By Rakesh Raman, who is the managing editor of RMN Company and runs free schools for poor children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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