By Haroon Rashid Bhat
Education is a dynamic process. Its meaning changes from time to time. It is interpreted by different persons from their backgrounds and ideals. Its psychological, philosophical, or pragmatic connotations also vary from one another. Taking the overall view, the goals and aspirations of any nation or group are directly or indirectly connected to this process. Therefore, we can’t put this process in a stagnated mode It needs introspection, revision, and reformation. Like the other States, the government of India formulated various reports, recommendations, and commissions from time to time to reform this education sector to attain the global standard in the entire education system. Now, this new policy of education titled “New National Education Policy 2020” is a step towards the same. The main points of this new education policy about school education are
The replacement of the 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure under this pattern, there will be 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi / Pre-schooling.
There will be a holistic and multidisciplinary education in terms of flexibility of subjects
E-courses will be developed in regional languages; virtual labs will be developed and a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) is being created
It is not possible to implement all the recommendations in a single attempt. It will take time to adopt it holistically because it needs proper surveys, planning, and financial concurrence, etc. However, the Director of School Education (DSEK) recently convened the meeting to seek valuable suggestions from the stakeholders through Education Reform Committees for the effective implementation of the policy. In this regard, my submissions are:
Need to develop Anganwadi Centers and Primary Schools: First let us talk about the involvement of Anganwadi Centers for pre-schooling. No doubt, it is a good move but if we take a glance at the Anganwadi Centers concerning its infrastructure, facilities, and manpower, etc., the ground reality is that these centers are mostly working in rented accommodation with a single room with the minimum facility. The same kind of condition is prevailing with numerous primary schools which are running in one or two rooms. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop such centers and primary schools, equip them with the latest facilities with sufficient teaching and non-teaching staff so that these institutions will shoulder this responsibility efficiently.
Need to ensure the availability of Maximum Subjects with Sufficient Teaching Staff.:
Keeping in view the interest of a student towards any particular subject, it is mention in the policy document (NEP-2020) that there will be flexibility in the selection of the subjects. It is certainly a very innovative step but the idea that haunts a student is the non-availability of certain subjects in most educational institutions. We have seen in some cases where a student covered miles to get admission in a particular institution for opting for the subjects of his own choice. Another issue is the dearth of subject teachers. Therefore, there is a need to keep maximum subject choices available at every institution with proper human resource- subject experts so that students will not suffer.
Address the Issue of Pupil-Teacher Ratio: If we take a thorough review of the teacher-pupil ratio and the subject teacher’s requirement more importantly at the high school level, it reflects the grim picture. The erstwhile state government in power developed the timely mechanism to address this problem, they ordered the rationalization of staff and clubbing of schools with low enrolment but all those measures don’t yield desirable results. It creates chaos and confusion among the students who are considered as the prime beneficiaries of any education policy. One of the main drawbacks of this rationalization initiative is that it is a temporary arrangement, not a permanent solution. Mostly this rationalization process occurs in the mid-session of the academic calendar or at the end. Students are compelled to complete their syllabi under two or three tutors in one academic session which the experts of education psychology don’t endorse or encourage. Another concern; no consideration is given to subject teachers mainly at the high school level which is need is the hour because our curriculum has changed a lot.
Need to bring all teachers under the ambit of Transfer policy: – There is an improper transfer policy placed in the education system. According to which only the general line teachers are transferred but it is needed now to bring all teachers (ERT’s ,RT’ now grade-2nd, 3rd teacher) under the ambit of transfer policy. It is not administratively or psychologically sound that a teacher will be retained at any particular school for the entire service.
Decentralization of Power: All the issues big or minor concerning academics, infrastructure, the adminsintrative is centralized at the Direction Office which becomes a lengthy affair to seek the timely solution of any issues/cases. Therefore, there is a need to give more powers to the district administration (CEOs, ZEO’s) to run the system at the district or zonal level.
Need to develop E-Courses and Labs for all: The prevailing situation that occurred due to the spread of COVID-19 put all the sectors under pressure including the education sector. But the Information technology played a pivotal role in sustaining the teaching-learning process in a dynamic mode, therefore the provision of developing E-Courses supported by well-equipped labs is the need of the hour. Let us hope for the best.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and columnist,Ex-faculty member of Darul Uloom Kousria, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org