It is not imposing the idea of one-nation-one-language but accepting the plurality and diversity of India that the National Education Policy focuses on, said Education Secretary Amit Khare. Khare was speaking at The New Indian Express' ThinkEdu Conclave 2021.
Sastra University's Vice-Chancellor Dr S Vaidyasubramaniam, TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla and Senior Journalist Kaveree Bamzai were part of the conversation. "What the NEP emphasises on is teaching in the mother tongue and the regional languages it isn’t one-size-fits-all," said the secretary.
"It is rather one nation, multiple languages. But why not use our languages? One programme, which has been started this year, is the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme why not people from the north learn languages of the southern parts of India or eastern India learn about west India," he added while answering Chawla's question about whether the policy will strive to unite India by teaching them languages from across India.
"The idea is to facilitate talented students who are from a non-English background (study in their mother tongue) so that the talent is not wasted. The online courses of the first year would be available in regional languages," he added.
Khare said that the beauty of this policy is the flexibility it offers not only in terms of languages but courses as well. There are various components of this policy that will come into effect at different points in time, he said and added that the next year will see at least 10 of them.
"The Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) is actually the ABC of the entire higher education system. If we want to have a multiple entry and exit system and a multidisciplinary system, the ABC is a must. Otherwise, it would be difficult to manage the students’ records. The work on the ABC is on and it will be there before the next academic session starts," he said.
"Those institutions who join the ABC and have accreditation of at least 'A grade' will be allowed to have a multiple entry and exit system within the institution. Applying it across institutions will take a little more time because different institutions have different types of courses," added Khare.
Replying to Dr Vaidhyasubramaniam's question about whether there will be a change in the eligibility criteria of IoEs, the secretary said, "Some changes are being considered for the eligibility criteria because under the existing criteria not many institutions would qualify."