National Education Policy – A Ray of hope
National Education Policy 2020 introduced by Modi government has a potential to transform education system in our country. Let us make it happen.
Last week during an online school lesson, my son was surprised to hear the explanation given by his history teacher on Aryan Invasion theory. The teacher and the text book, both loudly claim that Aryans were not indigenous people but Indo-European tribes which migrated from central Asia and defeated native people to spread their hegemony. Though Aryan invasion theory has now been fully debunked by the researchers in the latest studies using scientific evidence from the Harappan era, the maker of our school curriculum are least bothered about it.
The point that I want to make here is not about the fiasco of Aryan Invasion theory, it is about even something more important – the lack of acceptance towards genuine curiosity and critical thinking. From our family discussions my son was well aware that this is a bogus theory and he tried to explain the point that this theory has been rejected by the latest researchers and Indologists but rather than appreciating his awareness on the subject, the teacher abruptly shut him down saying that the book does not say it so it is all rubbish that you have read I don’t know where.
Second incident occurred within a week’s time, when during a social studies chapter the teacher inadvertently referred all Hindu scriptures as mythology. She did not stop here and went ahead with narrating a fabricated story of her grandma to prove that there was a wide spread untouchability In India from a long time. The teacher was literally on the mission to demean Hinduism. These incidents create a very negative impression in young minds about our origin, history, culture and religious beliefs. Unfortunately our teachers are equal culprit in this conspiracy as the book authors and the department of education are due to their lack of action.
Due to the nature of my job, I have travelled and lived across the globe. My children have got their education in multiple countries. They have passed their early school years in the environment where ability to ask questions is appreciated wholeheartedly and not seen as a suspicion on the ability of an incompetent teacher. The whole focus in school education in India cantered around getting marks. In this pursuit of mad rush behind the percentage game – the creativity, curiosity and aptitude for exploration are mercilessly murdered by the teachers and schools. Parents have no choice in front of this rotten but rigid education system.
The recent announcement by the central government on National Education Policy (NEP) appear to be a ray of hope. It is a right step towards future of India. Only a visionary leader like Narendra Modi could have thought about introducing it. This has a potential to change the way we look towards education in the country. The present approach to learning in India is very outdated and it has failed to produce thought leaders. It focuses on making followers who are not nurtured for independent thinking.
When our PM spoke about developing Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication Skills and Curiosity as the main objectives of the future school education, I felt as if someone (‘Pradhan-sevak’) is here to work on my dreams. He talked about giving wider options to students in terms of choosing subjects, emphasis on practical knowledge, equal importance to non-science subjects, using mother tongue as the medium of education until primary classes – all of these changes have potential to make India’s future education system world class if implemented properly.
The hysteria around marks has defeated the whole purpose of learning. The students, teachers, parents all are getting crushed under this elephant’s foot in every lesson, every day with no respite at all. The NEP can rescue us from this helplessness and hopelessness. If we would have encouraged ‘Learned to Ask’ in our education process, my son would not be forced to tolerate insensitive attitude of the instructor. What we have lost in last 70 years cannot be undone but if we can focus on the future now, there will be no looking back from here. May not be for my children but for the future generations, NEP will open the doors of opportunity and they will play more vibrant role in nation building. The onus comes on teachers and administrative staff now – when you’re asked to unlearn bad habits of the past, please do not behave stubbornly. We need your cooperation to make this happen – your and my prestige is not at stake here but the future of our next generations. Please don’t fail us from here, please don’t disappoint our nation at this important juncture. Our tradition has given equal respect to teachers as parents, let us attain that glory of this relationship again.
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