Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), Ranchi organized a webinar on ‘New Education Policy, 2020: Challenges and Opportunities ahead’ here on Monday.
Dr Pooja, Assistant Professor, XISS extended a warm welcome to Director- XISS, Dr. Fr. Joseph M. Kujur; Assistant Director, XISS, Dr. Pradeep Kerketta, Faculty Members, Project Officers and students of XISS as she introduced the esteemed panel to all.
The session opened with a welcome note delivered by Dr. Joseph Marianus Kujur, where he expressed his sincere gratitude to the organizing committee for their tremendous efforts for the webinar. In his address, Dr. Kujur said, “The efforts of the Union Cabinet are appreciated for bringing a new, revolutionary policy to the educational scene after 34 long years. The restructure, revisit and revamp approach and the sustainable development goals set by the policy will help in responding to the challenges in education sector of the century.”
The emphasis on vocational training, foundational literacy, and reducing dropouts were thoroughly discussed by Dr. Kujur. Speaking of the challenges, he expressed concerns over the feasibility of using mother tongue as the mode of instruction. He also pointed out the lack of a legally binding time frame. The ambitious goal of increasing higher education from 26 to 53 percent was also deemed difficult by him. He also stressed on the absence of Social Justice from the policy terms as well as the provisions for marginalized groups. He concluded that the values of the constitution must be added to the policy.
Meanwhile, Dr. Md. Sanjeer Alam, from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi while speaking in the webinar discussed the statistics of the colleges and universities across the country and their status. In his presentation he highlighted state of higher education in India, key issues and opportunities and challenges. He stated, “The current education system is severely fragmented and the complex nature of nomenclature mentioned in the policy is not giving a clear picture.”
Furthermore, he discussed about the challenges of the policy which shed light on the unequal distribution of opportunities, access, and increase in dominance of private sector and the structure of the education. Lastly he discussed upon the opportunities and challenges, which are reconstruction of HEIs, revamping curriculum/ degree /certification, streamlining governance and the new regulation regime, improving the funding of the higher education.
Moving forward, Prof. Jean Dreze, Economist, Social Scientist and Activist highlighted his concerns regarding the National Education Policy 2020 in a very well structured way, as he drove our attention towards the feasibility of making Higher Educational Institutions – non profitable in nature.
He also talked about how the “Equity role of education was missing in the NEP document” and how it might affect the inequality in the education structure. “The fact that the curriculum is way too complicated in India for an average student and how it makes it necessity for the students to get into competitive memorization to survive, is not helping them to learn,” he said while sharing his concerns.
At the end he put it out that - like most of the recent laws/policies of the government; the NEP tries to promote centralization of power which is detrimental for the country to grow.
Another Eminent panellist for the webinar, Prof. Dr. Ramesh Sharan of Ranchi University and Ex-Vice Chancellor of Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh, advised the audience to read between the lines to gather a comprehensive understanding of the policy. Speaking about the objectives of higher education, Dr. Sharan said, “The objective of creating social justice through education has taken the backstage in this policy. The vagueness of terms while addressing the underprivileged sections of society is particularly concerning. The increased political interference should be addressed and autonomy should be provided to educational institutions, free from political interference.”