Unlike the national capital, the condition of 95-98% of government schools across the country is extremely poor barring a few ‘showpiece schools’ in each state
Manish Sisodia, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister noted that age-old state-level education laws are a major hindrance in implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP) in true spirit, and without a new legal framework, it will be merely be a set of guidelines. “The recommendations of the recently introduced National Education Policy are progressive, but it needs an enabling legal framework to realise its full potential. There are many provisions in different state education laws which are restricting the proper implementation of the NEP,” he said.
Furthermore, the minister added that the pre-primary education system in India lacks framework, is not well regulated, and varies within states itself. “There is a need for a new legal framework for NEP to align it with the forward looking provisions of the NEP 2020. Otherwise, the policy will not be able to cross the hurdles created by existing legal provisions and age-old practices,” he added.
Sisodia mentioned unlike the national capital, the condition of 95-98% of government schools across the country is extremely poor barring a few ‘showpiece schools’ in each state.
“We talk about inclusive education in our policies, but does the teacher, while completing the curriculum in the classroom, guarantee that every child has a space for learning at their own pace. Are we training our future teachers to practice inclusion in our BEd curriculum? We need to ensure that when teachers enter the classroom, they are not only masters of their subject, but have also deeply absorbed the principles of inclusive development as their basic character” Sisodia said.
“In the NEP, the maximum focus has been given on the first five years. This is in sync with the thought around early childhood education globally. But the pre-primary education system in India is very unsystematic and varies in each state,” he said.
“The anganwadi focuses on zero to six years, play schools have their own standards and first grade has a different criteria. Whereas the new education policy focuses on foundational learning in the first five years. In such a situation, we need to have an implementation framework that really sets the foundation for lifelong learning,” he added.
The minister said the central government’s National Achievement Survey (NAS) for schools should not end up being only a high-stakes exam. “In India we have a traditional annual examination process of three hours which decides the future of the children. This causes a lot of stress on schools and leads to pressure on students to pass the exam,” he said.
“I fear that NAS is also shifting on the same lines, where getting high scores in NAS has become the priority of state education departments. This will create additional pressure on students.” “The government should look into the framework of NAS too and look for new assessment processes,” he added.
With inputs from PTI.
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