National Education Policy (NEP) – 2020

Education is critical for realising one's full human potential, creating a just and equitable community, and encouraging national progress. Providing widespread access to high-quality education is critical to India's sustained rise and worldwide leadership in economic growth, social fairness and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation.

Goal 4 (SDG4) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, approved by India in 2015, aspires to "provide inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone" by 2030. Such a high aim would necessitate the reconfiguration of the whole education system to support and nurture learning in order to fulfil all of the important targets and goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The world's information landscape is changing at a fast pace. Many unskilled jobs around the world may be taken over by machines as a result of dramatic scientific and technological advances such as the rise of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, while the need for a skilled workforce, particularly involving mathematics, computer science, and data science, in conjunction with multidisciplinary abilities across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, will become increasingly in demand. With climate change, rising pollution, and depleting natural resources, there will be a significant shift in how we meet the world's energy, water, food, and sanitation needs, necessitating the creation of new skilled labour, particularly in biology, chemistry, physics, agriculture, climate science, and social science. The increasing appearance of epidemics and pandemics will necessitate joint research in infectious disease management and vaccine development, as well as the resulting socioeconomic challenges.

As India progresses toward becoming a developed country and one of the world's three largest economies, there will be an increase in demand for humanities and art. The gap between present and desired learning results must be filled by implementing fundamental changes that bring the greatest quality, equity, and integrity into the system, from early childhood care and education to higher education. The goal must be for India to develop a world-class education system by 2040, with equitable access to high-quality education for all students regardless of social or economic background. This National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the twenty-first century, and it attempts to address our country's numerous expanding developmental imperatives. This Policy suggests revising and redesigning all areas of the education structure, including legislation and governance, in order to develop a new system that is consistent with the aspirational aims of 21st century education, including SDG4, while drawing on India's traditions and value systems. The National Education Policy places a strong focus on the development of each individual's creative potential. It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities – both the "foundational capacities" of literacy and numeracy as well as "higherorder" cognitive capacities like critical thinking and problem solving – but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions. The teacher must be at the centre of significant educational reforms. Because they genuinely mould our next generation of citizens, the new education strategy must help re-establish teachers at all levels as the most valued and important members of our society. It must do all necessary to empower teachers and assist them in doing their duties as successfully as possible. The new education policy must assist in recruiting the absolute best and brightest to enter the teaching profession at all levels by assuring a living wage, respect, dignity, and autonomy, while also establishing in the system fundamental quality control and accountability procedures. The new education strategy must provide a quality education system to all kids, regardless of where they live, with a special emphasis on historically marginalised, disadvantaged, and underrepresented populations. Education is an excellent leveller and the most effective means of attaining economic and social mobility, inclusion, and equality. Initiatives must be put in place to guarantee that, despite inherent difficulties, all students from such groups are given a variety of focused chances to enrol and flourish in the educational system.

Previous educational policy implementation has been primarily concerned with concerns of access and equity. This Policy addresses the unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986, as amended in 1992 (NPE 1986/92). The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, which established legislative foundations for attaining universal basic education, was a significant step from the previous Policy of 1986/92. The goal of education is to create decent people who are capable of logical thought and action, who have compassion and empathy, courage and resilience, scientific temper and creative imagination, and who have strong ethical moorings and values. Its goal is to produce active, productive, and contributing citizens who will contribute to the creation of an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisioned by our Constitution. The fundamental principles that will guide both the education system as a whole and individual institutions within it are: recognising, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitising teachers and parents to promote each student's holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres. It also aims at no hard divisions between arts and sciences, curricular and extra-curricular activities, vocational and academic streams, and so on, in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies and silos between different areas of learning. The multidisciplinarity and a holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports for a multidisciplinary world, in order to ensure the unity and integrity of all knowledge is the core of the policy. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning and learning-for-exams. The ethics and human and constitutional values such as empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice; promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning is prioritised.

The efficacy of every policy is determined by how well it is implemented. Such execution will necessitate a number of efforts and actions, which must be carried out in a coordinated and methodical way by a number of entities. As a result, the implementation of this Policy will be led by various bodies such as the MHRD, CABE, Union and State Governments, education-related Ministries, State Departments of Education, Boards, NTA, the regulatory bodies of school and higher education, NCERT, SCERTs, schools, and HEIs, as well as timelines and a plan for review, in order to ensure that the policy is implemented in its spirit and intent, through coherence in planning and synergy across all.

Dr. Manjushree G Naik, Manipal Institute of Communication, MAHE