President of India Ram Nath Kovind virtually inaugurated the Visitor’s conference of Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities, Directors of Institutions of National Importance of Ministry of Education and other Ministries here today. Union Minister of Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’; Minister of State for Education Shri Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre; Secretary, Higher Education Shri Amit Khare; Chairman, Drafting Committee of NEP, Dr. K. Kasturirangan along with senior officials of the Ministry, UGC and AICTE were present on the occasion.
The National Education Policy aims to reorient the education system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century by achieving the twin objectives of inclusion and excellence. It sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all, said the President of India Ram Nath Kovind in the inaugural address of Visitors’ Conference .
Appreciating the efforts of the Education Ministry and Dr. K. Kasturirangan and his team, who prepared the policy, the President mentioned that the Policy has been prepared after extensive consultation with 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, more than 12,500 local bodies and about 675 districts generating more than two lakh suggestions thereby reflecting a ground-level understanding.
Encouraging institutions of higher education, President Ram Nath Kovind observed that these institutes have greater responsibility of making India a global knowledge superpower. The quality standards set as a benchmark by these institutions would be followed by other institutions. The President emphasized that fundamental principles of the Policy include creativity and critical thinking in order to encourage logical decision-making and innovation. He drew inspiration from Bhagvad Gita and the Krishna-Arjun dialogue while reiterating the concept of free communication and discussion between the teacher and the student. The NEP also seeks to encourage critical thinking and spirit of enquiry. He opined that effective implementation of the NEP 2020 is likely to restore India’s glory as a great centre of learning as during the times of Takshashila and Nalanda.
President Ram Nath Kovind, describing the novel features of NEP, said that it would also introduce the system of Academic Bank of Credits. It would digitally store the academic credits earned from various Higher Education Institutions so that degrees can be awarded, taking into account the credits earned by students. This would allow students the freedom to take courses as per their vocational, professional or intellectual requirements in addition to giving flexibility of suitable exit and re-entry points. The need for strict monitoring of B.Ed., vocational and distance-learning courses is also being taken care of in this policy, he added.
During the course of the address, the President also highlighted that the target of the NEP 2020 is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER in higher education to 50 percent by 2035. He observed that the online system of education can also be utilized to reach this target especially in catering to the female students or those who do not have physical access to educational institutions as well as the international students. Citing statistics, he added that according to the All India Survey of Higher Education for 2018-19, GER for females is slightly higher than that for males. However, the share of female students is extremely low in Institutions of National Importance and particularly low in technical education. Emphasizing that NEP has focus on equity and inclusion, he said that such gender disparity in higher education should be corrected. The President also observed that it would be the role of head of institutions that would have an impact on the teachers and students and hence the heads of organizations should take active interest in implementing the policy.