Challenges In Implementing NEP 2020

National Education Policy also poses a real challenge to the Indian educational system which can only be met if the responsibility is shared amongst the key stakeholders

Whilst talking to a gathering of educationists about the completion of the first year of the National Education Policy (NEP), Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan called it a visionary educational policy for the 21st century, which will enable the country to harness the skills and abilities of each of its students, transform its education landscape and ‘universalise’ its teaching and learning. According to Pradhan, the NEP 2020 would bring about a holistic, affordable, accessible and equitable education system. 

Whilst agreeing with Pradhan on the positive changes the implementation of the new education policy is about to generate, each stakeholder in the country’s school system is now also wondering about the challenges of such a major transformation. Despite some setbacks due to the pandemic, the past sixteen months have already seen some positive developments and it is safe to say that the vision and mission of the policy have already been successfully disseminated amongst the stakeholders. As for the challenges, the five major ones are as follows:

The first difficulty arises from the sheer size and diversity of the country’s education sector. With more than 1.5 lakh schools, 25 crore students and 89 lakh teachers, India is the second largest education system in the world. To successfully reform such a large education system with schools in geographically remote areas the stakeholders will certainly have their work cut out for them. 

The second challenge is linked to a lack of funds, bureaucracy and the schools’ capacity for scaling up and innovation, as rightly pointed out by the NEP drafting committee led by K Kasturirangan. In order to manage the proposed changes effectively and overcome these obstacles, the existing organisational structure of the ministry and its ecosystem will require major overhauling. 

Thirdly, the success of the NEP’s implementation also depends on the successful collaboration between centre and state. Whilst the NEP has been drafted by the centre, its success depends on the support and cooperation of a politically unbiased government. 

The fourth challenge is to do with having the country’s private schools on our side. If the government and other regulatory bodies recognised private schools as equal partners in the NEP process, they would then be able to rely on them for the much needed financial resources and innovative technologies.

Finally, to achieve the goals detailed in the NEP, at least 6 per cent of the country’s GDP would have to be allocated to training and infrastructural investments. While this sum seems unimaginably high, fifty hours of compulsory Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and the ongoing training of teachers require both governance and investment, each of which comes at a price.

To sum up, the NEP is a truly groundbreaking document. It offers solutions to a wide range of pedagogical and structural issues and aims to make each and every Indian student truly future-ready. At the same time, it also poses a real challenge to the Indian educational system which can only be met if the responsibility is shared amongst the key stakeholders and if the educational leadership itself is educated and trained on how to bring about such a positive transformation without getting beaten by the myriad of challenges during the process.

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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