‘Our education has got to be revolutionized’ said Mahatma Gandhi in 1939. With the new National Education Policy (NEP) having released, there is a lot of aspiration, hope, and eagerness that people from different sects of the society are looking forward with to its implementation.

The rural areas and the geographically tough areas have primarily been devoid of high-quality education because of the difficulties that are associated with these areas. The NEP 2020 is hope in ending this void that has been created in these areas. How is this new NEP going to focus on these areas is highlighted below.

There are various recommendations that the policy document has to provide quality education to the geographically tough areas as well as to the rural areas. A new term that the document introduces is Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs). Along with gender identities, socio-cultural, socio-economic identities, and disabilities, the geographical identities too are included in the SEDGs. This will help these areas to get the necessary attention and incentives from the governments in the future.

The NEP 2020 has recommended that regions where there are significantly large populations from educationally-disadvantaged SEDGs, should be declared Special Education Zones (SEZs). In these SEZs, all the schemes and policies are to be implemented to the maximum through additional concerted efforts. This will help to truly change the educational landscape of these areas.

In addition to this, the policy also identifies specific geographical locations as Aspirational Districts which require special interventions for promoting the educational development there.

This categorization and identification of places that need more focus can prove to be a very effective measure in eliminating the difference of education that has sustained for long. This idea can be compared to the idea of biodiversity hotspots in conservation biology wherein specific places are identified which need urgent efforts to save biodiversity.

The NEP 2020 also speaks about consolidating the large no. of schools with very little strength of students and teachers into one complex.

On of the problem with the schools in these tough areas, particularly primary schools, is the small size of the schools. The schools are often spread in multiple no.s with minimum no. of students. The geographical dispersion, challenging access conditions, and the very large numbers of schools make it difficult to reach all schools equally.

In the new system, a school complex would be made with one secondary school together with all other schools offering lower grades in its neighbourhood including Anganwadis, in a radius of five to ten kilometers.

To make it easier for governments and organizations to establish a school and to allow alternative models of education, the required requirements will be made easier as per the NEP 2020. The emphasis on forming the new schools, as the document states, will be more on ‘output potential’ concerning desired learning outcomes than on the inputs.

The policy proposes to redesigning the curriculum and pedagogy to be strongly rooted in the Indian and local context and ethos in terms of not just culture but also as per the geography and indigenous and traditional ways of learning. This is in line with the idea of Mahatma Gandhi that, “My plan to impart primary education through the medium of village handicrafts like spinning and carding, etc., is thus conceived as the spearhead of a silent social revolution fraught with the most far-reaching consequence.”

The document clearly mentions that ‘The Central and State governments will take steps to ensure that books are made accessible and affordable to all across the country including socio-economically disadvantaged areas as well as those living in rural and remote areas.’ This aims at the idea of increasing reading habits in the country. For this, the online accessibility of library books will be increased and digital libraries will be further broadened. Other measures include setting up of rural libraries and reading rooms in disadvantaged regions.

Presently, there are is a shortage of teachers in the geographically tough and rural areas. Often the teachers teach in multiple classes and multiple subjects other than the one they are trained in. This reduces the efficiency of the teacher and also prevents the flow of proper knowledge to the students. In order to solve this problem, NEP 2020 looks to ensure that outstanding students enter the teaching profession, especially from rural areas. In rural areas, special merit-based scholarships will be established that also include preferential employment in their local areas upon successful completion of their B.Ed. programs. This, in addition to providing local job opportunities to the youth and solving the problem of shortage of teachers in rural areas, will also serve as portraying these employed youth as local-area role models and as highly qualified teachers who speak the local language.

Efforts will also be made to make Olympiads and competitions in various subjects available in rural areas and in regional languages to ensure widespread participation which until now is limited to the cities.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future of India lies in its villages”. And thus, the education of the villages and the geographically tough areas will decide the future of India.


‘National Education Policy 2020 Government of India’.

Joshi, D. (2002) ‘Gandhiji on VILLAGES’, (2380).

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.