At the Governors’ Conference on the NEP’s Role in Reshaping Higher Education, Modi said it was natural for stakeholders to have questions on various aspects of politics and “we are all working to answer all of those questions”.
All stakeholders’ views are openly heard, he said, adding that most questions about the NEP are related to its implementation.
Comparing education policy to defense and foreign policy, he said it belongs to the country, not the government. Education policy is linked to the aspirations of the nation, he added.
“We must address all doubts together. The vision of flexibility with which this policy was brought … We must similarly show maximum flexibility in implementation,” he told the conference, which was also attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, Education ministers from states and union territories and vice chancellors alongside governors.
The Prime Minister urged them to hold virtual conferences at universities on NEP 2020 before September 25, which he said was warmly welcomed by a village teacher to well-known educators as it was based on feedback from across the country.
Highlighting the main features of the policy, initially since 1986, he said it seeks to get all aspects of higher education, academic, technical or professional, out of the silos and reduce administrative tiers while achieving better coordination.
Modi said the idea behind the concept of tiered autonomy is to encourage healthy competition between colleges and universities and to reward the performers.
“It is now our collective responsibility to translate this essence of NEP 2020 into word and spirit,” he said. The policy focuses on learning rather than learning and goes beyond the curriculum to focus on critical thinking, he said.
The NEP has addressed concerns about student load on books and exam pressures, and efforts are being made to expose them to professional courses and hands-on training from a young age to make them more employable in the Indian and global markets, it said.
The policy will give a new shape and strength to India’s push towards “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (independent India), he said.
Our youth will now be able to learn according to their interests, he said.
It used to be that students chose a stream beyond their abilities and they recognized it much later and those issues have now been addressed, the Prime Minister said.
India has been an ancient center of global learning and the government is working to make it a center of the knowledge economy in the 21st century, he said.
While governments, whether at the center or in states, have a role to play in shaping education policy and the education system, so is their role in ensuring that they should have minimal interference and influence in the preparation of education policy, he said.
The more teachers, parents and students connected to education policy, the more relevant and broad it will be, he added.
The Prime Minister said the new policy has paved the way for the best international institutions to set up their bases in India for youth from common families to join them.
This will also curb the brain drain, he added.
The NEP approved by the Union’s Cabinet in July replaces the 34-year national education policy established in 1986 and is intended to pave the way for transformation reforms in the school and university systems in order to make India a global knowledge superpower.
The NEP will prepare students on the fronts of knowledge and skills and focus on learning rather than learning, the Prime Minister said, adding that this will move our education system out of the “one size fits all” mindset.