The National Education Policy 2020 implementation comes after a gap of 36 years. This is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century in a big country like India and its states. Planning, execution and overall implementation should include all its stakeholders.
It is a known fact from past experience that Indians are some of the best planners in the world, but have failed miserably on implementation. This is mainly due to a lack of strong political will, poor coordination and lack of cohesiveness. An inordinate delay in its implementation of the policy will lead to the failure of a system that will inevitably lead to apathy among people.
An NEP-based curriculum will have to cater to the needs of children for the next two to three decades to successfully see its fruits. Any kind of progress in a country must have a strong educational backbone to sustain any eventualities raised in a social, economical, political and cultural arena. A poor change will end up landing in trouble and must be answered for.
In the case of Manusmriti, the script itself provides a valuable lesson of dos and don'ts that come with everyday life and can be valuable for children. While there are no qualms about introducing it into textbooks, these changes must be done carefully.
While there are concerns on introducing such an ancient text, many of its lessons are still relevant to us. It also helps inculcate a good work ethic in children. However, old texts like these are not often best suited to modern day situations. It is the responsibility of the government and teachers to analyse and understand this predicament and work towards nurturing the child instead of pushing practices that are no longer relevant.
The modern student needs to be taught moral and ethical aspects of life and must be able to develop their own opinions. There is nothing wrong in these being taught from the scripts.
However, these scripts are in Sanskrit, which is inaccessible to most, and they have a reputation of being understood by the public as having wrong connotations. For many of us who have not read the script, we are left with poor translations and wrongly portrayed concepts.
This can be solved given a good teacher who is able to understand these shortcomings, and properly analyse and teach students the lessons that the script provides. This means providing sufficient funds to meet all infrastructure needs.
This must be taken into consideration alongside a good set of teaching fraternity who are dedicated. The implementation of Sanskrit is tricky as many teachers are not available. Further, Sanskrit has been a language that rarely anyone speaks, as it was the language of pundits and not the common folk.
Its implementation in schools must be thoroughly thought out and discussed by the public and must have complete clarity into what is being included. The ability to develop a child is the responsibility of the society that that child lives in, this means that all stakeholders must be involved in doing so.
However, this will be also be up to trial and error. Once implementation is done, we must be careful to analyse differences in behaviour of children so that we can correct and avoid instances of danger, especially if the child is influenced by the wrong people.
NEP paper demeans contribution of great scientists: Society
BENGALURU: The NEP position papers continue to draw flak with the Breakthrough Science Society criticising the 'Knowledge of India’ paper for ‘demeaning contributions of great scientists like Newton'.
Soumitro Banerjee, state general secretary of the society, criticised the papers, saying, "While we appreciate our rich heritage, knowledge from the ancient times should be taught only in the context of the history of science and not as an integral part of the technical aspect of any course."
(The writer is retd. Principal, MES Teachers College)