Since it has always been the academic class which provides policy orientation to the policy makers, the NEP has the potential to produce a new breed of intellectuals to ensure fullest realisation of the much-needed strategic thinking in the Defence and security area
Over the years sufficient literature has appeared on India’s strategic planning. Many foreign scholars have made contributions towards the research on the modernisation of our Defence programme and the need for gearing up and updating.
One rarely comes across a balanced and dispassionate assessment of the issue since there hasn’t been enough focus on a precise strategic planning.
However, the National Educational Policy (NEP) 2020 is a sincere effort to fill the gap in the existing realms of knowledge about the contemporary importance of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies.
As India needs to diversify its strategies to counter the challenges it faces from Pakistan and China, the strategic knowledge and anticipating the move and motive would be helpful in nipping the problems in the bud.
Recently Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat lauded the NEP and found it quite useful for armed forces to identify the inner strength, resilience, intellect and accuracy of thinking and excellent coordination between mind and body among the youth, particularly from rural areas, for serving the nation with all the integrity and conviction. This is not only an attempt to bring them to the mainstream but a major step towards fulfilling the inner penchant of equity and social justice.
The procedure of accountability and disclosure were anxiously awaited and would make system foolproof. The NEP involving more practical-based approach at the tertiary level would help catching and identifying the inclination among the new generation towards strengthening country’s forces.
The new attention and scope for innovation would attract the talent and enlighten them to seek career opportunities in Defence services. The NEP 2020 has provided a new gateway to problem-solving mechanism and a huge platform for education sector in India. Undoubtedly tremendous efforts have been made towards creating an environment that generates smooth, easily understandable yet cognitive, constructive and analytical skills among the harbingers of future.
The provision of a single regulator and numerous entry and exit options with regard to formal degrees have been some of the salient features of the NEP which deserve all the appreciation as a new beginning to understand the core security problems which can be comprehended in brighter manner with an option of choosing Defence and security as one of the important subjects of the larger discipline either at the undergraduate or postgraduate levels.
The research on such issues would invite tremendous receptiveness on the part of higher education since the ongoing low intensity insurgency perpetuated by Pakistan and over expansionist mission of China have reaffirmed the obnoxious conspiracy to hit India where it matters the most by creating socio-religious and security quagmire.
Besides, it will send out a loud and clear message that India cannot reciprocate in the same manner as it has certain firm convictions and policies towards ensuring peace through defensive mechanism. This has carried forward the question of reestablishing the credibility and confidence among people that India is not a soft state but it wants to avoid war and conflict as far as possible.
The new learning of socio-political aspects of the problem of insurgency, terrorism and Naxal violence would help security personnel get well versed with the psychology of terrorists and criminals.
John Milton once commented “hours have wings and they fly up to the author of fame dedicated to their cause”. The attempt to sensitise about exploring our domestic underpinnings with renewed focus on the role of addressing the myriad shades such as gender sensitisation and concern of marginalised communities by way of creation of Special Education Zones through inclusive social democratic ideas and values in the process deserve all the appreciation.
The provisions of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) on par with IITs and IIMs, the National Research Foundation, the National Educational Technology Forum and Indian Institutes of Translation and Interpretation would create an environment for students to reach their potential best by encouraging academic excellence of global level, embracing new information on the one hand and opening new areas of job-oriented courses on the other.
Besides, it would help in understanding social responsibility. In addition to this a new approach can also provide a clear way forward for students interested in Defence studies by getting them to learn new techniques.
The much talked about new provisions of new education formal orientation of “5+3+3+4” and learning in mother tongue or regional language till Class V would open up fresh outlook and generate an introspective discourse and seek multiple options and viewpoints to see one’s right place according to one’s interest.
There are numerous provisions under NEP which can ensure a collaborative creation of ideas and providing tips to comprehend even the tedious and complex issues.
As far as education at the tertiary level is concerned, NEP’s approach appears to set out a very clear way forward by getting the mentors fully involved in new techniques and developing challenging strategies to meet the need of all categories of students.
Hence, in order to enhance the standard of students it would be imperative to develop self-academic orientation and excellence to deliver and provide a problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students can further formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment.
An introduction of new syllabus would provide a vivid and deeper insight into the problem of terrorism and its causes and thereby may lead to a road map towards a foolproof encountering strategy. This combating strategy will have to look into the basis of the funding for terrorism, nexus among arms dealer, drug traffickers, smugglers and terrorists. A proper knowledge about the nexus between organised crime and terrorism can be of immense use.
The vision of the NEP is bound to make India the most competitive in the field of Defence education and would have many takers. The new facilities in security and Defence areas would enthrall new generation and provide new perspective to all the aspiring academicians and students who are shortly going to step out into the world of competition much beyond a regulated framework.
Our Defence policies should be able to adapt to the challenging environment as well as efficiently implement recommendations.
A modern, vigilant and assertive military, intelligence, police and paramilitary network should replace the old one.
Since it has always been the academic class which provides policy orientation to the policy makers, the NEP has the potential to produce a new breed of intellectuals to ensure fullest realisation of the much needed strategic thinking in the Defence and security area.
(The author is a professor and expert on strategic affairs)