Process for finalizing national education policy to be kicked off on January 26

NEW DELHI: On Republic Day, government will announce the initiation of the new education policy (NEP) that for the first time proposes to get feedback from the grassroots involving each and every village in the country. The process for formulating the policy has been hammered out after months of brainstorming in the HRD ministry and many autonomous bodies. The new education policy — coming after 1986 — aims to meet the demands of the “changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research.”

Sources said what is unique about the formulation of NEP is the way it has been made participatory. The entire process is likely to take one year. In the process, the new government has shelved UPA’s idea of having a new national education commission that would have come up with the policy after discussions with all stakeholders. “We are letting ordinary citizens decide on what they want about education and not let a few intellectuals come up with a uniform policy for a country so diverse,” one source said.

As planned, discussion on NEP will begin at the village level and then go to the block level, followed by brainstorming in districts and finally at the state level. It will be the responsibility of each state to collate and bring out the larger issues brought at each level. Final discussions will take place at the Centre in which states will have a big role to play.

To facilitate discussions at each level, government has shortlisted 32 themes (20 for higher education and 12 for school education) and expects broad parameters of the new policy will emerge around them. There could be further modification in themes.

In the case of school education, themes are improving learning outcomes, extending outreach of secondary and senior secondary education, strengthening of vocational education, reforming school examination system, revamping teacher education, accelerating rural literacy, promotion of information and communication technology, new approaches to teach science and mathematics, school standards, promotion of languages and comprehensive education.

In higher education, themes that the NEP will look into are governance reforms, ranking of institutions and accreditation, quality of regulation, roles of central institutions, improving state public universities, integrating skill development in higher education, promoting online and technology-enabled learning, addressing regional, gender and social disparities, cultural integration, private sector partnership, internationalization, industry engagement to link education to employability, research and innovation.

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