EM Exclusive, Nagaland
NEP in Nagaland: An air of optimism among educators
Kohima, Aug. 4 (EMN): After a gap of 34 years, the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was recently approved by the Union Cabinet. If implemented, it will revamp the previous education structure in the country, which was formulated in 1986.
In Nagaland, the department concerned and education associations are in the process of reviewing the new policy as to how best it can be implemented in the state.
An official from the School Education department informed that a meeting was held on the matter on Tuesday. Several education associations in the state also informed that they were discussing and reviewing the new policy.
Eastern Mirror contacted few educators for their feedback on the NEP 2020, and its challenges, particularly when applied in the context of Nagaland.
Dr. Fr. Sebastian Ousepparampil, principal of St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Jakhama, said that the new NEP was in fact “long overdue”.
According to him, the new policy fosters the unique capabilities of each student by sensitising teachers as well as parents to promote student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres.
“The new education policy has given focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s coaching culture,” he observed.
He added that “we have reasons to feel hopeful that the NEP will make an impact in the life of the students”.
The new NEP also introduces a 5+3+3+4 design that covers students aged between 3 and 18. This, he said, will enable students to identify their capacities and capabilities as well as their attitudes and choose their career by selecting the streams they want to take up.
One of the salient features of new NEP is that there are no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams etc., in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies, Dr. Ousepparampil said.
Besides the formal education, the new policy also gives importance to ethics and morals, and environment education. The NEP gives priority to students to think creatively and critically, which in turn will enable them to be innovative and make logical decisions. This needs to be understood and appreciated, he said.
Further, there is also an emphasis given to multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning. The principal said that the new education policy has made provisions for research and research-based development.
“When corona pandemic stuck India, the mask and other health products were imported from other countries. What a shame after seven decades of developments! It all happened because our education system was not research-oriented,” he said.
If the NEP is developed properly and implemented in its full potential, it can ‘create a dedicated unit for building world-class, educational digital content and capacity system for India’, the professor added.
Kevi-ü Yalie, HoD of Political Science department at Sazolie College, Kohima, said that it is a “good and convenient policy” for students, though, on the front of teaching profession, there are many new challenges.
Pointing out some of the challenges if applied in a state like Nagaland, she said the ultimate issue would be poor internet connectivity. As and when Nagaland government introduces the NEP, it should also make sure that there is good internet service across the state.
“For other urban areas in India, internet connection is easily available and smooth. But in Nagaland, even towns don’t have good network connection, than how can one imagine about rural Nagaland. Students are not only from the town areas but quite a good section of students come from villages as well,” she said.
The new policy does not only talk about classroom teaching but also technological teaching, she added.
Starting from school to university, the curriculum is going to be changed to meet the standards of this new policy.
“All the stakeholders need to really put an effort for the success of this policy. State government or School Education department alone cannot do it. Everybody involved in the field of education should give their effort. Syllabus and curriculum is another challenge besides internet connectivity. Right from the school level, the new policy envisages in providing maximum independent learning. Syllabus here is still at the basics whereas NEP 2020 is talking from the point of advanced teaching learning. Therefore, there is a big challenge even for students,” Yalie said.
As for faculties, they have to be equipped with required qualifications and degrees to meet the standard of the new policy.
Yalie, who has been teaching for over 10 years now, said that there is a digital divide, between rural and urban areas. However, she pointed out that teachers need to be equipped with necessary technological skills. “Circumstances are going to compel the use of technology to teach and one cannot escape this new policy.
“If the state government is going to introduce this policy, (it) means everybody has to be ready to take necessary measures,” she added.
The NEP 2020 is in many ways an attempt to implement patters of western liberal education. Some years of journey with proper implementation of this policy can even bring enormous changes in the context of India, she added.
Former educator Niekhoyi Rhakho pointed out that the main challenge faced by the policy is that the states have to be brought on board for implementation as education is a concurrent subject.
“Education is a concurrent subject, where both centre and states have equal rights to bring about changes in legislation and implementation. However, the centre has an upper hold,” he added.
He also observed that the NEP 2020 aims to shift towards more scientific approach to education. It will help to cater to the ability of the child in different stages of development. This includes cognitive development, social and physical development.
“When implemented, the policy will bring India at par with leading countries of the world,” Rhakho said.