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Guwahati: The National Education Policy 2020 announced on June 29 this year laid out an encouragingly hopeful vision for educational reforms after a gap of over thirty years. Although the policy emphasises a lot of positive changes such as more stress on vocational and skill-based education, it also poses the challenge of nationwide implementation and achieving the desired outcomes.

While the educational reform has been welcomed by educationists and institutions across the nation, most schools however, are still unclear about the implementation process, change in teaching structure and techniques, infrastructure development and man-power utilisation on implementing the NEP 2020.The National Education Policy 2020 announced on June 29 this year laid out an encouragingly hopeful vision for educational reforms after a gap of over thirty years. Although the policy emphasises a lot of positive changes such as more stress on vocational and skill based education; it at the same time poses the challenge of nationwide implementation and achieving the desired outcomes.

While the educational reform has been welcomed by educationists and institutions across the nation, most schools however, are still unclear about the implementation process, change in teaching structure and techniques, infrastructure development and man-power utilisation on implementing the NEP 2020.

You have 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 but we only have up to class 10. So, does it mean that I have to start separate standards for 11 and 12 to incorporate the 9, 10, 11 & 12?

Change in educational structure

The new education policy has also re-envisioning the school curriculum structure from the 10+2 model to 5+3+3+4 model. As per the new structure, the initial 5 will include the present-day nursery, pre-primary, primary, one and two. The next three years will include the preparatory stage i.e. 3rd, 4th and 5th standard. The middle stage i.e. the next 3 includes present-day class 6, 7 and 8. Class 9, 10, 11 and 12 will be clubbed together to be called secondary i.e the final 4 of the educational structure.

EastMojo reached out to some of the schools across the northeast to get their perspective on the implementation of NEP 2020.

Br. Solomon Morris, Principal, St. Edmund’s School in Shillong said, “First of all we need to do a good study of what the policy is about and how to you read all the nuances between the technical aspects. You have 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 but we only have up to class 10. So, does it mean that I have to start separate standards for 11 and 12 to incorporate the 9, 10, 11 & 12?”

He further added that the policy emphasises on art & craft, pottery, etc. and ten bag-less days and institutions are still unclear about how to keep it all organised.

Keviseto Isrial, Baptist High Senior Secondary School in Kohima also raised similar concerns. The NEP 2020 also stresses upon vocational and skill-based education however implementation of the same has not been made clear to the schools.

“One of the challenges that we will definitely face is breaking down the boundaries between arts, sciences, humanities, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. So we will have to segregate them in a way that children should be able to make the choice by the time they reach 9th standard,” Isrial said during an interview with EastMojo.

“Besides that when you look at the teacher education, there will be a great shift in teacher education. Teacher education will need a 4-year integrated B.Ed. students will have to join the B.Ed courses as soon as they finish the class 12. Besides, there will be a 2-year B.Ed course and also a 1-year B.Ed and the new education policy states very clearly that by 2030 all teacher education instituted should be multi-disciplinary,” said Dr MA Jyrwa, Professor, PGT College, Meghalaya.

Many have welcomed the initiative of having ‘ten bag-less days’ a month and that it will be a way to dig into students’ mind and give children a break from the conventional way of learning.

Soma Bhattacharjee, teacher and educationist from Meghalaya said that it is high time that educational institutes come away from mark oriented studies.

“During the ten days, we can give a break to the children, let them be creative and let them come out of it. They can teach us much more and this pandemic has taught us how good they are,” the educationist said.

“In those days it is going to digging into the minds of the students. The students can dig deep into their own passion, into their own inclination and perhaps come up with something which they wouldn’t have when the book is open in front of them or when a very water type curriculum is followed,” Binita Jain, Senior Coordinator, Royal Global School, Guwahati further added.

The language barrier

Another question that remains unanswered is the process through which education is to be imparted in the mother tongue. Although kept as non-mandatory, the clause of the policy recommendation has got thumbs up from most of the academicians where the population speaks only one language. However, implementation of the same in areas with diverse population will be a challenge.

Krishnanjan Chanda, principal of South Point School in Guwahati, says that it is more implementable in villages where the students from the same community come to school for studies.

“It will definitely be a problem that is why it has been kept as non-mandatory because in cities like Guwahati there are twenty different communities in the same class and you can’t possibly have twenty different languages been taught by teachers speaking those languages,” Chanda added.

Binita Jain of Royal Global School echoed similar opinion and said that it is ok for those areas where students speak in a single language or areas without a cosmopolitan structure.

EastMojo also reached out to Shanavas C, Principal Director, School Education, Nagaland who mentioned that from the state level a State School Standards Authority which will determine the standard of a particular school.

“We are starting the process with the help of SCERT but to develop the curriculum, we will have to wait for the National Curriculum Framework. Ministry of Education has given us a checklist of close to 300 points which is given to all the states, and we are supposed to fill up our preparation level in the checklist which includes the whole of NEP,” Shanavas added.

Challenge for government schools

With accessibility, affordability and quality as key challenges in the education sector, successful implementation of the policy in government schools amid limited resources, and infrastructure can only be predicated on the availability of adequate funding.

Lebu Krose, Principal, Rüzhükhrie Govt. Higher Secondary School expressed her concern regarding the government’s preparation and the fund allotment to government schools.

She said “Government schools cannot do this from the little admission amount. We used to get grants, but that is only for repairing for benches, windows, glasses, etc. It is a good thing if the government is prepared but without preparation, we should not introduce.”

She further added that parents, even if though they are poor they send their children to the private schools saying that in government schools elementary education is not satisfactory.

With several challenges standing in the way, the main objective of this policy is to transform the educational landscape and raise the standard of education in India.