Dr. Alexander Thomas, President of the Association of Healthcare Providers – India (AHPI) and Convenor of the Medical, Dental, Nursing, Allied Health and AYUSH Committees that Submitted Recommendations to the Government of India on the National Education Policy
The Ministry of Human Resource Development recently announced the National Education Policy 2020 with the aim of transforming the current education system in India. The new policy seeks to eliminate structural inequities and pedagogical differences, and aims to create an education system that provides flexible, affordable and quality education for all.
Some of the elements of the policy are in place to ensure that access to higher education improves drastically. It has provisions for the standardisation of education throughout the country. There will be a single umbrella body called the Higher Education Commission of India with separate components for on regulation, standard-setting, funding and accreditation for all higher education (excluding medicine and law), whether public or private.
The government has made an attempt to focus on skills and capability by integrating vocational education within school education. The re-designed education system will focus on knowledge and application as key areas, rather than rote learning and examinations. A highlight of the new education policy is how examinations should now be structured to look at the holistic growth of students. The retention of students at all levels is a primary goal, with the improvement of school infrastructure being the first step towards this.
The government has taken an important step forward in the transition of education policies. The increased public spending on education from around 4% to nearly 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) is a welcome move. An energy-filled breakfast and a nutritious mid-day meal will help children achieve better learning outcomes. There are ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education which will benefit marginalised communities in India. Previously, only children aged six and above were covered in the school curriculum. Under the new NEP, there will be an increased focus on Early Childhood Care and Education for children aged three and above. This will have a huge impact on future generations.
The Association of Healthcare Providers – India (AHPI) was privileged to be part of the discussions to formulate the National Education Policy under the leadership of former ISRO chief Dr K Kasturirangan. If the NEP 2020 is applied in letter and spirit, India has the potential to become a global leader in education.