Teachers Vs National Education Policy 2020

Here’s a cause-effect theory of what exactly may happen to the NEP 2020 if teachers are not prepared for the biggest change coming to Indian Education System in four decades.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

Yes, you read it correct! The implementation of NEP 2020 is actually going to be a clash between the current teacher ideology and the aspirations of a new education system as projected in the new National Education Policy of India. It’s going to be a tug of war between the current skills of the teachers and the expected outcomes of the education policy. It’ll be a face-off between the current state of mind (psychology) of 10 million teachers and the new-age learning outcomes being written for a future-ready generation. Here’s a cause-effect theory of what exactly may happen to the NEP 2020 if teachers are not prepared for the biggest change coming to Indian Education System in four decades.

Any education system is as good as its teachers. The Indian education system, by the virtue of its teachers, has produced some of the best minds of the world and most of these successful professionals acknowledge the contribution of their teachers to their success. While the education policy and the curriculum framework has been dated for over two decades, there has been a set of teachers who always find new ways of teaching and make sure the learning is delivered in the best possible way. They up-skill themselves continuously and prepare the learners for the future. The new National Educational Policy is nothing new for these set of teachers and they have been innovating at all the levels required. In fact, it might not be an exaggeration to say that the new policy is a good attempt to catch up with these teacher leaders of the country. The big issue is that while we have only a handful of such teacher leaders in the country, the new policy wants every single teacher to deliver the results that these motivated and highly skilled teachers deliver. That’s an ideology and skill change for almost 99% of the current teachers in the country.  

So, what exactly will change with the implementation of the new policy. Teaching any subject, any age, anywhere involves two major components. The content (what we teach) and the pedagogy (how we teach). And while the new policy has projected a tweak in the curiculum structures, there won’t be a major change in the concepts and subject matter. So, the content will be more or less the same as what it was before. The major change will be in the Pedagogy and that’s the cat we need to bell. The last time a pedagogy change (CCE) was proposed in one of the central boards, we saw resistance from teachers across the country and after attempts to implement it across the board for five years, with just the secondary school teachers (around 0.2 Mn teachers), it was trashed. This time we are proposing mild content changes but a radical shift in the pedagogy and implement it all across the boards and grades involving over 10 Mn teachers. The impact of NEP 2020 will be directly proportional to the implementation of the new systems by teachers across the country and there are lessons to be learnt from what happened with CCE implementation.  

The first and the foremost change that needs to be bought is that we need to stop treating our teachers like ‘Superheroes’ in a superhero movie. No, they cannot teach for 40 hours a week while they evaluate 500 assignments, build projects, talk to parents, learn technology, learn content changes, plan annual functions, plan online assemblies and then find time to learn what NEP 2020 wants from them. They cannot figure out everything on their own based on a circular by Department for education and a six-hour motivational speech by their own School Principal or a Principal from another school, who themselves are trying to make sense of things. They cannot go out to attend a lecture by someone and figure it all out to come back and teach it to the rest of the staff members in the school, while they complete their teaching responsibilities. They cannot explain the changes in the education system to the parents when they themselves are still struggling with the changes. We need to consider them as humans (not Superhumans) and understand their current predicaments that involve understanding the psychology of a completely new generation of learners. We need to create a model where they are intrinsically motivated to learn and grow as professionals and they do not see NEP 2020 as a political stunt at the cost of taking away a couple of hours of free time they are left with at the end of every month. 

The success of NEP 2020 will majorly depend on the teacher education and capacity building strategy for the country. It cannot be a ‘build the plane, while you fly it’ strategy as it might crash and never rise again. It needs a qualitative ‘Teacher-Educator Development’ system that defines the key requirements of what it takes to be a good Teacher Educator/ Teacher Trainer and builds an army of Teacher Trainers and Teacher Mentors who can take the responsibility of results not just efforts. These teacher educators should themselves be evaluated and certified based on their skill set and evidences of impact. This would increase the probability of delivering skills and competencies to the teachers and might result in a better implementation framework. The teacher capacity building in itself needs to be a skill-based initiative that involves formal evaluation of the learnt skill set of the teachers and then guiding them towards professional growth and better future prospects based on their performance. There needs to be a framework that defines the pathways from pre-service education to the in-service education and maps the initial teacher training curriculum to the NEP 2020 requirements of school education.  

There needs to be a proper amalgamation of policy, strategy and implementation of NEP 2020 with the teaching community of the country and only then the NEP 2020 can hit the target of having a better education system for India. Else the arrow may land upon the wrong target and that would create a need of drawing a bull's eye around wherever the arrow lands, which most likely will be the teachers head. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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teachers National Education Policy 2020 NEP 2020

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