Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the National Education Policy (NEP) aims to make children qualified according to their talents and choices.
After inaugurating a three-day Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Samagam on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) in Varanasi, attended by over 300 academic, administrative and institutional leaders, the Prime Minister said that the education system should not only prepare young degree holders, but also ensure that all the human resources necessary for the progress of the country are available.
“Our youth need to be skilled, confident, practical and calculating, education policy is preparing the ground for this,” he said, adding that there was a need for institutions to work on the future needs of the young talented generation. He said that young people were taking initiatives in areas like space technology, new opportunities were opening up for girls and women. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was now one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it was the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world.
Stating that the new policy, which was introduced after a 30-year hiatus, would help realize countless possibilities, Mr Modi said: “The education system created by the British has never been part of the Indian ethos. …the basic premise of the NEP is to take education out of narrow thinking and connect it to modern ideas of the 21st century.
The Prime Minister said India’s philosophy of education was multi-sectoral and the same approach was needed in a new system with modern processes. Stressing the importance of research work, he called for a “lab-to-land” attitude and also asked institutions to value practical experience and fieldwork.
Mr Modi said that in the field of alternative medicine, including Ayurveda, there was a need for evidence-based research. Topics such as making the best possible use of the country’s demographic dividend, finding solutions to the challenges of aging societies, cleanliness through waste recycling, and climate change also provided a wide range of research opportunities.
The Prime Minister said that although the NEP was implemented about two years ago, his government had worked diligently for its successful implementation. He personally attended many seminars and events to speak on the issue.
In addition, the government had also focused on a major overhaul of the education infrastructure. While several new colleges, universities, IITs and IIMs were established, there was a 55% increase in the number of medical schools after 2014. The Common Entrance Test (CET) for universities had been introduced. The world rankings of several Indian establishments were also gradually improving.
The NEP had opened avenues for pursuing studies in the mother tongue. Ancient Indian languages like Sanskrit were also passed down, he said.
Expressing his confidence that India could become a great center of global education, Mr Modi said the government has issued guidelines to prepare Indian higher education in line with international standards. Special offices had been set up in 180 universities for the international affairs of the institutions. He asked the participants to organize such events in the institutions and to send suggestions to further improve the system.
Among those present at the occasion were Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister visited a public school and spoke with several children in Varanasi.